Your article about the Morro Bay-Cayucos Wastewater treatment plant was overdue (“Consulting waste,” May 27). This fiasco has been going on for some time, and, as you pointed out, it bears unfortunate similarities with the Los Osos treatment plant mess.
However, I think you pointed your finger at the wrong persons. It is true that the consultants are overpaid and have been doing a poor job on both ethical and professional grounds, but I think that they have been largely doing what they have been told to do. It is the persons who hired them and are telling them what to do who bear the major blame in this problem. These persons are the elected officials of Morro Bay and Cayucos and their staff.
Following somewhat doubtful practices, they hired an engineering firm with a suspect history. They hired a project manager, at a price of $250,000, who has only managed to make the situation worse. On the recommendation of their project manager, they hired a lobbyist with limited experience in wastewater treatment plants and a suspect reputation. Worse yet, they decided to retain her services at the obscene rate of $650 and hour. They ignored the advice of the Coastal Commission and the city’s own planning commission that told them that the selected site for the project posed numerous problems and that other alternatives needed to be considered.
My best guess is that this group of elected officials and their staff are suffering from false pride. They won’t accept the fact that they have made poor decisions and are blindly continuing along an expensive and flawed path.
“When you are in a hole, quit digging,” the saying goes. Unfortunately, it is myself and other residents of Morro Bay and Cayucos who are embarrassed by this mess and will have to share the increased costs.