John Wallace has stepped down as general manager of the Avila Beach Community Services District but will remain as the district’s engineer, the third such resignation in the South County since 2012.
The change will be effective Oct. 1. Wallace has been with the district for the past 17 years, said Pete Kelly, the district’s board president.
“The district is now very stable, and John’s leadership was an integral part of the district’s success in getting through the rebuilding of Avila,” Kelly said.
Avila Beach was rebuilt after the business district and some homes were razed and the area excavated from 1998 to 2000 to clean up the Unocal oil spill. Wallace said the improved economy has placed additional demands on his business, the Wallace Group, which need his attention.
“New sectors like renewable energy and reclaimed water projects are growing rapidly and call for me to shift my focus and to service other geographic areas,” he said.
The search for a new general manager has begun. The district serves 350 businesses and residents in Avila Beach.
In 2011, the district board split Wallace’s single contract into two in response to a county civil grand jury report alleging a conflict of interest existed because Wallace served as the treatment plant’s administrator while his firm provided engineering services for the district.
Grand jurors concluded that the board and the district were “exposed to a number of financial, legal and public trust issues” stemming from the relationship between Wallace and his company.
Wallace’s engineering firm resigned as the Oceano Community Services District’s engineer in October 2012, not long after the district was fined $1.1 million by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for a 2010 sewer spill. The Wallace Group worked for the Oceano Community Services District for five years.