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2 South County Sanitation District staffers put on leave in midst of misconduct probe

South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District provides wastewater processing for Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano.
South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District provides wastewater processing for Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Two top administrators at the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District have been placed on paid administrative leave, just days after the district began investigating allegations of misconduct by Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill, a district board member.

District Administrator Gerhardt Hubner confirmed that plant superintendent John Clemons and bookkeeper and secretary Amy Simpson were placed on leave last week. Hubner declined to disclose why, saying it was a personnel matter.

He would not say whether the decision was related to the ongoing investigation into Hill.

The district board voted March 1 to join an investigation into the misconduct allegations against Hill — namely, the allegation that he violated the Brown Act by emailing an unapproved employment contract with a home address for Hubner to a private email account. (Hill has denied the accusations, saying the document was not confidential and does not constitute a Brown Act violation.)

Simpson sent a letter to the Arroyo Grande city attorney in February after the City Council voted to begin the investigation, saying she and Clemons, who was acting district administrator at the time, published the unapproved contract in a district meeting agenda packet before noticing it included Hubner’s home address. According to the letter, she pulled the packet offline and redacted the address.

“I take complete responsibility for not resending the Board the new version of the Board Pack with the redacted contract,” she wrote. “The reason for this statement is to clear Mayor Jim Hill of any Brown Act violation regarding the sharing of Mr. Hubner’s un-redacted contract. This contract was part of an agenda and not a Closed Session Item. I believe this is a personnel matter and not a Brown Act violation.”

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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