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San Luis Obispo County counsel dismisses all allegations made by Lisa Schicker of Los Osos against Public Works Director Paavo Ogren

In a withering final report, County Counsel Warren Jensen has thoroughly dismissed allegations that county Public Works Director Paavo Ogren has a conflict of interest or is otherwise biased in his supervision of the Los Osos sewer project.

The accusations brought by Lisa Schicker, a former member of the Los Osos Community Services District, were unsubstantiated, he wrote. Schicker handed in 1,300 pages of documents in April.

“My estimate is that it took at least 50 hours to read the 1,300-plus pages, do some independent research, and write up my conclusions,” Jensen wrote in an e-mail to The Tribune.

“That’s at least $10,000, when you consider our full office overhead,” he wrote.

“The ‘evidence’ she submitted consists almost exclusively of her personal opinions, without corroborating details or documentation,” Jensen wrote in his report.

Many documents Schicker gave him were “authored by Ms. Schicker or others who have staked out partisan positions that are consistently at odds with county staff,” he wrote.

Schicker could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Jensen’s report elaborates on preliminary findings he reported in August.

The report will likely not end the routine attacks by some in Los Osos on Ogren and county Supervisor Bruce Gibson.

A dozen or so sewer opponents routinely go to Tuesday Board of Supervisors meetings to criticize them — and, before she retired, Supervisor Shirley Bianchi — for their handling of the Los Osos sewer issue.

County employees generally take the heat; Jensen’s report is one of the few times they have thrown criticism back at their detractors.

In addition to being partisan, the documents Schicker submitted can’t be used in court, Jensen wrote, because they are inadmissible hearsay, “lay opinions without foundation,” or “simply are not relevant.”

Jensen outlined the four types of conflict of interest possible under California law, and said Schicker had not proved Ogren guilty of any of them.

Jensen also looked into an allegation frequently raised by Schicker and others, that the engineering firm Montgomery, Watson, Harza had engaged in “bid rigging” in Florida. He noted that a speaker at one San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting had said there were felony convictions in Florida.

Again, Jensen said Schicker and her supporters gave no source documents to back up the allegations, only newspaper articles.

Jensen wrote that the Florida attorney general’s opinion to which Schicker referred — he said it is available on the state’s Web site — does not refer to Montgomery, Watson, Harza and focuses instead on the procedures undertaken by the city of Cape Coral.

He said he could find no evidence of criminal prosecutions, adding that there is no pending investigation by either the Department of Justice or FBI.

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