Has $800,000 gone missing from the sanitation district?

Jim Hill’s presentation

The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation Districts expenditures and bank balances show that during the past 15 months there is over $800,000 in money that is not accounted for, according to a presentation by Director Jim Hill.

Hill compared revenues with expenses and found statement shortfalls during the 2016-2017 fiscal year in excess of $650,000. Hill’s presentation revealed another $200,000 is unaccounted for since the current fiscal year started in July.

Paul Karp, interim district administrator, does not believe the money was taken. Because of employee shortages and maintenance issues, the administrator has not had time properly look into the account balances.

“It started over a year ago,” Karp said. “We do not think anyone stole anything. We just have to get on it.”

Before March 2017, district secretary/bookkeeper Amy Simpson was tasked with making sure the books were balanced. On March 6, former plant administrator Gerhardt Hubner placed Simpson on paid administrative leave.

Hubner then tasked three people with covering Simpson’s duties: a plant operator, a part time accountant and a friend and employee of vice chair Linda Austin.

Since then, several public speakers have complained that the monthly financial reports do not balance.

Several months ago, Hill first asked staff to look into the accounting discrepancies.

In response, Hubner argued that the numbers were correct. Both directors John Shoals and Austin then voted to approve the monthly financials with Hill dissenting.

In addition to financial inaccuracies, the district is also under fire for failing to complete its 2015-2016 audit. On July 31, County Auditor Controller Jim Erb informed the sanitation district that its 2015-16 audit was overdue and warned that the county is allowed by law to perform the necessary audit at the district’s expense.

After more than eight months, Simpson is slated to return to the district in the next few weeks.

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8 Comments about “Has $800,000 gone missing from the sanitation district?”

  1. Otis says:

    The three member majority (Ray, Harmon, Barneich) of the Arroyo Grande City Council displayed its vindictiveness against mayor Jim Hill in the Council meeting of October 24 expressing their disparagement of Hill by contesting the legal judgment and the conclusion by Investigators that Hill cannot be removed by law from his Board membership on the Sanitary District.

    The Council majority has ignored the outstanding contributions Hill has made to restore financial and management stability to the District. Hill and Debbie Peterson of Grover Beach were key in exposing the issues that has led to the indictment by the District Attorney of past Sanitation District manager, John Wallace.

    Why is the AG Council majority acting so viciously? One reason is the fact Hill whoomphed their darling candidate, Waller, in the election for Mayor. Hill received by far the largest votes of all in the election for City Council. There is a quiet anger on the part of those who support Hill regarding the Council majority’s actions that may have implications in the elections in 2018!

  2. insidelookingout says:

    Government at it’s best. “We don’t think anybody stole anything.” If there were a private business where accountability is everything, no body would go home until they found that money. But since its that government “free money” who cares besides the taxpayers?

  3. insidelookingout says:

    Oh no it appears that the swamp in south county may be near crisis levels. How is it that whenever these discrepancies show up it’s always the same names that are related to the issues. The sanitation district and Grover Beach might become bed buddies, or cell mates, when this is all over. I hope that at some point someone with step up to the plate and get to the bottom of all of this corruption and have those who are guilty do their time.

    1. seeker says:

      Shoals may be on his way to doing time. PG&E let him go today. His story is they are starting to lay off staff due to the impending closure, but sources at PG&E say they are not laying off, and Shoals doesn’t work the local beat anyway. Some online PG&E pages show his base as the Bay Area. He has spent a lot of time in Oakland of late. Is he too close to the Oakland Tax Collector who was sacked for stealing PG&E software and now works for HDL, John’s choice of cannabis advisors for Grover Beach? Or did his observed cocaine use cause him to fail his drug test? Or was it sexual harassment again? Or is he being investigated? Or did PG&E not like his attack on fellow excellent employee Jim Hill? Could be anything. John is a cheat. He cheats on his wife, he cheats in his campaign disclosures. Where else is he cheating?

  4. seeker says:

    Ouch! It hurt to hit ‘thumbs up’ to the blatant dysfunction you have chronicled, so thumbs up to you for making it public, and thumbs down to the dysfunctional directors,
    Shoals and Lucy.

  5. Julie says:

    Hill first noticed discrepancies in the district’s financial reports several months ago and asked then administrator, Gerhardt Hubner, to explain, Hubner said, “I don’t know where you’re getting your numbers.” Hill responded, “These aren’t my numbers, they’re your numbers.” At the time Hubner assured the board the district worked on a cash basis, but later corrected himself saying the district operated on an accrual basis. Hubner said the numbers were correct and he and several accountants worked on it.

    Hubner was released from the district effective August 3rd; he walked away with a $37,500 severance and access to lifetime medical benefits should he chose to apply for them. Hill was the only board member opposed Hubner’s severance, but was out voted by board members, John Shoals and Linda Austin.

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