Oceano residents are again being forced to pay excessively for water and sewer service, due in part to a misleading accounting system and bloated administrative staff at the Oceano Community Services District. The district has several of the “Red Flags For Fraud” published to assist elected officials in spotting malfeasance. The district’s auditors have repeatedly pointed out problems including improper cash handling procedures, long-uncashed checks, failure to reconcile accounts, and an incomprehensible accounting system.
My own investigation shows the staff prints a “check number” on each check that is different from the clearing number used by the bank—providing unlimited opportunity for mischief. Checks have been issued that were not approved by the board, fines and penalties have been incurred with both the state and the IRS (which are passed to the rate payers) among other issues. My request for a forensic audit was unilaterally removed from the board agenda by President Barbara Mann, who always seems to favor closed session meetings or relegating important issues to obscure committees. It is long past time these issues are thoroughly and impartially investigated. A forensic audit is imperative.