OPINION by JULIE TACKER
During a recent interview on the Dave Congalton Show, Arroyo Grande city council woman and former San Luis Obispo County supervisor, Caren Ray, who served on the Integrated Waste Management Authority board said, the IWMA “went sideways after I left.”
Ms. Ray served as supervisor, and as such, on the IWMA board, from October of 2013 until the end of 2014. From all indications the IWMA was “sideways” before, during and after she left.
On Nov. 13, 2013, an audit report was brought forward at the scheduled IWMA meeting, which Ms Ray attended. In the audit review of the previous year, the auditors provided this statement: “In planning and performing our audit, we considered the Authority’s internal control over financial reporting to determine the audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances for the purpose of expressing our opinion on the financial statements, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Authority’s internal control. Accordingly, we do not express an opinion on the effectiveness of the Authority’s internal control.”
There was no public comment and the audit was accepted by the board with a unanimous vote. Three members were absent.
On May 14, 2014, Ms. Ray attended the meeting where the budget was to be reviewed. There was no public comment and apparently the vote occurred without any questions. The vote passed without any objections.
Questionable expenses during her tenure include some made with foreign currency in October of 2014. A night at a posh hotel in Prague in the Czech Republic, purchases made at Mitre Linen Co., a hotel bedding and linen supply store in the United Kingdom, Laura Ashely in London, Custom Curtain Co. and Just Sew Interiors (both window covering stores, also in the UK) and movie tickets.
Did Ms Ray hold staff accountable for the hundreds of dollars in meals at local restaurants; Thairiffic, Gennaro’s and Firestone grills, Natural Cafe and Bon Temps? Perhaps she inquired about the $200 charge to Reseda Flowers?
Ms. Ray corrected Congalton when he called her a “watchdog” she said, “I don’t call myself a watchdog, I’m a public representative.”
With Ms. Ray’s type of representation, we the taxpayer, get fleeced.