San Simeon director resigns, blames whistleblowers

April 10, 2023

Gwen Kellas


San Simeon Community Services Director Gwen Kellas resigned last week amid multiple ongoing investigations into conflicts of interest, while blaming local whistleblowers for her mounting legal issues.

Kellas resigned effective immediately on April 3 in a short but cutting letter of resignation. Appointed in 2017, Kellas wrote that being on the board means surviving a “toxic, harassing and demeaning” environment perpetuated by two critics. one who lives in the community and another who lives nearby.

After discovering conflicts of interest, whistleblowers Julie Tacker and Hank Krzciuk reported their concerns to multiple government agencies including the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office and state and federal grant providers. These reports led government officials to mount investigations, cancel grants, lodge fines and file civil charges.

For more than two years, the FPPC has had an open investigation into allegations of conflicts of interest related to Kellas voting on or discussing issues in which she has a personal financial stake.

In 2019, Kellas asked the FPPC is she could participate in discussions regarding the sewer plant property, which includes a pipe bridge that is located about 200 feet from her home. Public officials are often barred from voting on or discussing items located within 500 feet of their property.

“The facts indicate that you have a reasonably foreseeable and material financial interest in decisions related to the repair and maintenance, removal and restoration of the wastewater treatment plant site,” the FPPC said in its Aug. 28, 2019 response to Kellas. “You may not take part in these discussions.”

Even so, on March 14, while four board members wanted to delay the replacement of the bridge, Kellas argued to prioritize replacing the bridge.

Tacker than filed another FPPC complaint against Kellas for again allegedly violating conflict of interest laws. The FPPC looked into the latest complaint before officially adding it to its ongoing investigation on April 3, the day Kellas resigned.

The board is scheduled to discuss plans to replace Kellas at their April 11 board meeting. With approximately 185 voters, who are divided into five districts with about 45 voters each, district officials have voiced concerns with finding eligible candidates.

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“toxic, harassing and demeaning” … Egotists, crooks and liars like to misuse these words a lot. Legitimate investigations are none of these.

So the General Manager of the SSCSD ends her career with a resignation that pretty much states: “I hadn’t done anything wrong, until I was caught.” She’s a class act.

I do not know Gwen but I must say the target should be the GM. It’s a very sad situation for all who live in San Simeon the trust has been broken.

80 year old child.

Thank you to the Whistleblowers! Blow that whistle as loud as you can.

“With approximately 185 voters, who are divided into five districts with about 45 voters each, district officials have voiced concerns with finding eligible candidates.”

Which is precisely why the San Simeon CSD should be disbanded and annexed to the Cambria CSD. Or just turned back over to SLO County. Or something. This SSCSD thing simply is not working.

So why hasn’t Charlie Grace been fired and all use of his company terminated?

Sounds like a Scooby Doo episode “and I’d have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky kids”.