Oceano service district fires general manager

The Oceano service district’s general manager was fired by a unanimous vote of its board in a Tuesday night special meeting.

More details about General Manager Raffaele Montemurro’s dismissal will be announced at the board’s June 8 meeting.But board Vice President Matt Guerrero confirmed that Montemurro will not be at work today.

The board will also discuss appointing an interim manager at its next meeting.

Before leaving, Montemurro handed over his keys to the office. He declined to comment to reporters.

Community Service District board members have in recent months expressed their frustration with Montemurro’s management of the district.

Members have questioned the time it has taken to wrap up overdue audits, complained that information on financial issues hasn’t been readily available to them and the public, and criticized Montemurro for failing to pay a large water bill to the county on time.

At its May 25 meeting, the board voted to hold Tuesday’s special meeting to discuss discipline, dismissal or release of Montemurro.

During Tuesday night’s four-hour meeting, he was asked to leave the closed-session discussion. When asked how the meeting was going, he replied: “Not good.”

The board’s action comes two months after the sudden resignations of board members Jim Hill and Carole Henson, who also complained about the way the district was managed.

Hill’s resignation letter said Montemurro’s failure to follow the board’s direction prevented him from being able to carry out his “fiduciary obligation” to the local citizens.

Montemurro was hired in October 2009 as the district’s fifth general manager in four years (including two interim managers).

His starting annual salary was set at $78,500. In a split vote, the board increased his salary to $87,500 annually starting July 1, 2010.

The water and sewer-focused district also provides street lighting and fire services to the community of about 7,200 residents.