Peter Kampa, the newly appointed interim general manager of the Los Osos Community Services District (LOCSD), read the SLO County newspapers last fall. He followed the chronicling of public unrest and allegations leveled against the LOSCSD—poor management and even misappropriation of funds—that brought about the rushed retirement of former General Manager Kathy Kivley in January.
Kampa, a 23-year veteran of managing special districts in California with his firm, Kampa Community Solutions, told New Times that the saga that played out in Los Osos is an all-too-common one at CSDs.
“I was reading about similar issues to what I see all over the state,” Kampa said in a phone interview from his office in Sonora. “It seems to be common: Controversy over things going on, audit problems, accusations of this, that, and the other. You’ll see an uprising.”
The goal is to stifle any lingering community suspicion by doing a “reboot” of the LOCSD’s operations. On Feb. 11, the LOCSD Board of Directors voted in closed session to hire Kampa Community Solutions as interim GM, approving a contract that expires on May 31 and pays Kampa $8,083.33 per month or $97,000 per year.
He outlined plans to revamp the LOCSD’s website; enhance its transparency practices by posting more documents and policies online such as ethics, financial reserves, complaints, and employee reimbursements; publish a monthly newsletter summarizing district activities and issues; and update the district’s personnel handbook.
The most immediate task will be to expedite the release of a 2014-2015 fiscal audit, which was expected in February but was delayed. It was the 2013-2014 financial audit that turned the LOCSD board, management, and community members against one another.
“We’re at a point now where it’s time for a transition. We’re going to head off this year into a positive direction,” he said.
LOCSD boards members have voiced their support for Kampa’s vision and say they’ll use the interim period to evaluate the best course of action for district management going forward.
Kampa Community Solutions manages Saddle Creek CSD and Lake Don Pedro CSD in addition to the Los Osos CSD. Kampa also serves on the board of directors of the California Special Districts Association (CSDA), a statewide nonprofit that serves as an educational resource to special districts.
“My focus for years has been CSDs and all that they do and all they can be,” Kampa said. “I want CSDs to be healthy and viable and do a good job in communities.”