Politics & Government

Fired manager of Oceano services district is running for board seat

A sign welcomes drivers to Oceano.
A sign welcomes drivers to Oceano. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A former general manager of the Oceano Community Services District, who was fired for cause in March, is running for a seat on the services district board.

A list of candidates on the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder's website shows that Lonnie Curtis — who served as general manager for about five months — is on the November ballot. He could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

Three seats are up in November on the district board, which provides water, sewer, fire protection and street lighting services to more than 7,200 people.

They include two four-year seats currently held by Lori Angello and Karen White and one two-year seat occupied by Jennifer Blackburn.

Angello has already filed paperwork to run for re-election and is on the ballot. White and Blackburn each said Monday that they plan to run for re-election.

Curtis, a civil engineer and former manager at several water agencies in California, was selected from a pool of five finalists in October 2013. The board held several closed-session meetings to evaluate his performance before firing him for cause.

Although district officials would not give reasons for the firing, Curtis faced scrutiny from the start.

A district critic had raised concerns about possible plagiarism related to a PowerPoint presentation that he had submitted as a writing sample in his employment application. The PowerPoint writing had, in fact, been created by someone else.

Curtis said he had received permission to use the slides when he worked in a previous job as mergers and acquisitions manager for Golden State Water Co. in Southern California.

In addition, the district board heard two appeals from residents who said they were overcharged for district service during his tenure; both appeals were granted.

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