Opinion » Shredder

Of diapers and dipshits

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It's a good old-fashioned slap fight at the Oceano Community Services District (OCSD), which recently made headlines due to embezzlement allegations against a former employee who purportedly added extra hours of vacation and sick time to his or her payroll, and even more egregiously pocketed cash payments to the OCSD and then zeroed out clients' bills to hide the trail.

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A 2022 OCSD audit report detailed the missing funds and concluded that the employee didn't have proper supervision: "[The] employee designated to process payroll had too much system access."

OCSD board member Charles Varni also attributed the embezzlement to a lack of oversight.

"This is the classic case in employee embezzlement situations like this, where a trusted employee has control of a process that includes cash monies from beginning to end," Varni said.

Former OCSD board member Steve Montes in a letter to New Times accused Varni of being the OSCD's source of dysfunction.

"There has been a consistent pattern of negativity during these [OCSD board] meetings, and as we all know, negativity can become cancerous," Montes wrote. "This negative energy I'm talking about has been present since Charles Varni became a director."

To which gadfly citizen April Dury complained, "That [New Times] gave Steve Montes ink is beyond my comprehension. He was a board member for the length of the lifespan of a gnat, and his SOLE accomplishment was to hand over a twenty-five THOUSAND dollar raise to [OCSD General Manager] Will Clemens the night he informed them an employee had been embezzling on Will's watch."

Meanwhile, OCSD Vice President Shirley Gibson got a bug up her butt about a sentence from New Times reporter Samantha Herrera's story about the embezzlement, sending an incoherent email. "Hello Sherrera, The following is a statement without attribution. Maybe you should should (sic) clean it up. S. Gibson," followed by the sentence:

"Due to a lack of management intervention, an OCSD employee responsible for processing payroll allegedly allocated themselves an extra almost 20 hours of combined vacation and sick leave than earned for the regular pay period, the report states."

How is that "without attribution"? It says at the end, "the report states," so it's being attributed to the 2022 OCSD audit report.

It's dysfunction junction down there right now, and the Oct. 11 OCSD board of directors meeting was like a Wild West town hall throwdown, with one unnamed citizen taking aim at OCSD Director Beverly Joyce-Suneson.

Joyce-Suneson apparently received a notice of violation from the SLO County Department of Planning and Building after receiving complaints that she had an RV on her property that was illegally connected to the district's sewer and water, and illegally occupied.

"You must cease the use of the RV for habitation, remove sewer and water connections, and return the RV to a state of storage, [and] obtain a demolition permit for the unpermitted sewer connection used by the RV," the notice of violation stated.

During public comment, a community member, who wouldn't disclose his name, came forward with a package of adult diapers. 

"I'm going to leave these for director [Joyce-Suneson] because these are legal. She can poop in these, so she doesn't have to poop in her trailer anymore, and she can use these instead of being illegally connected. You have to follow the law."

Yeehaw! Bang-bang!

The adult thing to do would be to admit you were at fault, apologize, and do as required by the notice of violation. What did Joyce-Suneson do? In an interview with New Times, she passed the buck and made excuses.

"I feel that Shirley Gibson has drug the OCSD to a level of dysfunction that I've never seen in any organization ever, and Will Clemens takes delight in it. Some man brought me a big ol' package of adult diapers and thought maybe I should put those on, and Will Clemens sat there looking right at me and laughed."

She claims her RV kerfuffle is a diversion to take away from the true OCSD injustices like the embezzlement, and she claims people are engaging in character assassination against her. Schmaybe? Who should have been overseeing the embezzler? Will Clemens, right? But can't we all agree there's too much petty, immature infighting going on?

Anyway, according to Joyce-Suneson, what she did wasn't wrong because, "The hookups were already unhooked, and they were temporarily hooked up by a plumber to flush out [the pipes]. I have other family members that use it, camp in it, take it places, and it was parked in an area on my property and hooked up in the process of getting it prepared to go out on another trip."

Yeah, nothing to see here. Move along whydontcha.

"There was no stealing involved, and the plumber [who hooked up the RV to the sewer] himself said that it was legal and that he frequently sets these types of situations up for people around the county," Joyce-Suneson added. "They're set up all the time and it was not an uncommon thing that he did."

Well, thanks for being a snitch. Now the "county person," as Joyce-Suneson referred to Land Use Technician Bradly Farr, will be shaking down her plumber for the names of every other scofflaw he's illegally hooked up.

Keep it up, OCSD. Imma pop some popcorn. Δ

The Shredder is agog for more. Tell all at [email protected].

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