The county Board of Supervisors, reacting to an online posting, has asked its administrators to investigate whether a conflict of interest exists between Paavo Ogren, who runs the county’s Department of Public Works, and Maria Kelly, who resigned last week from the Los Osos Community Services District.
The nature of the supposed conflict is unclear, because the district and the county are two separate organizations. The county is in charge of the sewer project, and the CSD has no role at this time, although it has in the past.
The post alleged that the two have been conspiring to push through the project.
County Administrator Jim Grant told The Tribune that his office “is in the process of identifying the issues associated with the allegations as a first step.”
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“We will then determine the next steps in the process to fully evaluate any issues that are identified,” he continued in an email to The Tribune.
“All we really have at this point is an Internet post that is unsourced,” Supervisor Bruce Gibson said Tuesday in asking for the investigation.
Reached in Sacramento on Wednesday afternoon, Ogren said he will be meeting with Grant on Monday to discuss the allegation.
But, he added, there is no conflict. “They make these statements, but where is the evidence behind it?”
“My head is more focused on work,” he said.
Kelly told The Tribune she resigned in order to deal with family matters. That happened just after her son and Ogren’s son were involved in an auto accident last week. She had been planning to resign since last year, she added, and the accident sped up her decision.
Soon after the accident, critics of both Ogren and Kelly began to publicly question their relationship. Both support the current sewer project that has divided Los Osos politically.
Kelly told The Tribune that she and Ogren have been dating for six months, but they don’t discuss the sewer. “That’s not what I want to base my relationship on,” she said.
She added that she soon will be moving to San Luis Obispo, but not with Ogren. Her children have been attending San Luis Obispo schools since 2005 in an intra-district transfer, she said.