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More Los Osos CSD management turmoil unearthed in report

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When the Los Osos Community Services District (LOCSD) hired CSD specialist Peter Kampa as interim general manager in March, Kampa promised to spearhead a full-scale reboot of a district assailed by controversy, finger pointing, and ambiguity.

Kampa will apparently need some outside help with that task.

In a loaded April 7 management report presented to the LOCSD board of directors, Kampa announced that he had hired accounting firm Warmerdam CPA Group and former LOCSD accountant Dale Flynn to assist the district with a “significant backlog of financial work” left behind by previous management.

Kampa calculated that there was “nine months of incomplete financial work” that needed to be remedied, and he even declined to provide an April financial report to the board, stating, “it would be inappropriate for management to deliver additional reports until the accuracy of all prior reports is confirmed.”

With a 2014-2015 fiscal year audit already four months late to the SLO County auditor, Kampa labeled the LOCSD’s financial standing as an “emergency situation” in need of additional resources.

“I couldn’t get that work done in a timely manner, so we went a different route,” Kampa said.

The additional personnel will reportedly cost the district $4,029 per month.

A frequently cited explanation for past LOCSD accounting problems has been the use or misuse of its accounting software. Once again, Kampa told New Times that the software wasn’t used correctly this year, as previous management didn’t appropriately “close the books” after the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which ended in July 2015.

“It just leaves a chance for error,” Kampa said. “It’s not like were flying completely blind. It’s not like we have no idea where we are. There just can be a degree of inaccuracies, and you want to make decisions based on the most accurate data.”

The report also revealed that the LOCSD has received delinquent notices from multiple state and federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and California State Controller due to “quarterly and annual payroll reports either not being filed or filed incorrectly for the last couple of years.”

Marshall Ochylski, president of the LOCSD board, told New Times that neither Ochylski nor the other four directors were made aware of the extent of the problems occurring at the district in recent years.

“We were aware that the audit was not completed on time, but as far as the reasons for that, and all of the intricacies of that, we were not aware,” Ochylski said.

In January 2016, the district parted ways with General Manager Kathy Kivley, who was hired in 2013, in an undisclosed retirement agreement. The district accountant who worked under Kivley, Mike Doyle, is also no longer employed at the district as of March 16.

“Obviously we had some difficult times in the recent past; that’s why we decided to change directions with our general manager,” Ochylski said. “Hopefully, we can get everything resolved and start moving forward.”

Also on April 7, the LOCSD announced a request for qualifications for new candidates for LOCSD legal counsel. Since the district’s formation in 1998, local firm Shipsey & Seitz has served as the district’s legal counsel. Kampa noted that he was looking to better define the role of legal counsel to help eliminate inefficiencies or waste. 

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