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Public Integrity Unit Completes Review of Los Osos Community Services District Board Compensation

Public Integrity Unit Completes Review of Los Osos Community Services District Board Compensation

Author: District Attorney Public Integrity Unit
Date: 12/13/2019 5:02:47 PM

The District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit has completed its review of a complaint alleging improper compensation received by some Los Osos Community Services District Board members. While concluding that no criminal conduct occurred, the District Attorney admonished directors to personally familiarize themselves with applicable law to avoid future violations and criminal prosecution.


District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that the District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit has completed its review of a complaint alleging improper compensation received by some Los Osos Community Services District (LOCSD) Board members.  Under California law and LOCSD bylaws, directors are permitted to receive compensation for attending meetings and other qualifying events, typically $100 per meeting.  However, a director can be compensated for only one meeting per day and are limited to receive a maximum of $600 per month.  In addition, only certain types of meetings and events qualify for compensation.   Earlier this year the district determined that some board members had received more compensation than they were entitled to.  As a result, those members repaid what they owed. 

The District Attorney’s Office reviewed the allegations and corresponding district records to determine whether criminal charges were merited.  After a review of the allegations and records, we have concluded that although some board members received more compensation than was authorized, there is insufficient evidence to prove that they sought compensation knowing they were not entitled to it, or that they acted with the high level of recklessness necessary to establish criminal negligence. 

In a letter to the LOCSD Board this week, the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit admonished directors to personally familiarize themselves with the applicable laws to avoid possible prosecution for future violations.  The letter is available for review here.

"Those who serve on elected or appointed boards and districts within San Luis Obispo County do so as a public service that requires them to give of their time and energy to lead our communities for very nominal financial compensation,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.  "While I am grateful for their willingness to step forward and lead, it is important for each public official to remember that in conducting the public’s business, they are held to a high standard of conduct and scrutiny.  The citizens of San Luis Obispo County have the right to expect that their elected and appointed officials will carry out their duties in a lawful, ethical and professional manner.  I created our Public Integrity Unit to ensure that they do so or face potential criminal prosecution.”

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HISTORY OF THE PUBLIC INTEGRITY UNIT

Soon after being sworn into office in 2015, District Attorney Dan Dow created the office’s Public Integrity Unit. The mission of the unit is described below.

The citizens of San Luis Obispo County have the right to expect that their elected and appointed officials will carry out their duties in a lawful, ethical and professional manner. They also have the right to expect that administrators, supervisors and the immediate subordinates of elected and appointed officials, who play an integral role in achieving the mission of the office holder, will discharge their duties and obligations in the same lawful, ethical and professional manner.

The District Attorney has created the Public Integrity Unit with its mission to ensure that public and appointed officials, and their subordinates, fulfill their legally mandated duties. To this end, the District Attorney's Office will use all resources at its disposal to detect, investigate and prosecute criminal misconduct at all levels of public service.

Through its efforts, the Public Integrity Unit’s primary goal is to increase the public's level of trust and confidence in its elected and appointed officials serving in local agencies.

The Public Integrity Unit will aggressively and proactively seek out public corruption at all levels of government. All matters referred to the Public Integrity Unit for consideration will be thoroughly and fairly reviewed. Criminal charges will be filed in all appropriate cases.

It is the policy of the District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit to not confirm the existence of an investigation or otherwise comment about an ongoing investigation.

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