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South SLO County Sanitation District to share cost of Hill investigation

The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Board has agreed to share the cost of an independent investigation into Board member and Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill.

Its the latest development in ongoing political upheaval that has gripped the South SLO County Sanitation District in recent years.

Since the start of this year, criminal conflict of interest charges were filed against former District Administrator John Wallace in January and last month the Arroyo Grande City Council voted to conduct an independent investigation into Mayor Hill for alleged misconduct.

Hill has said the allegation is politically motivated and he believes the investigation will reveal it has no merit.

“Jim Hill has an excellent reputation in Arroyo Grande”, Arroyo Grande resident Otis Page told Sanitation District Board members urging them not to participate in the investigation of Mayor Hill, “he has been disparaged by this act and its unfair.”

Hill had other supporters in the audience at Wednesday night’s monthly Sanitation District Board meeting at Grover Beach City Hall.

Hill recused himself from the Board’s discussion and decision on sharing the estimated $15,000 cost of conducting the investigation into his alleged misconduct as AG Mayor and Sanitation District Board member.

“The result is going to be the same, Mr. Hill is going to be exonerated”, said Hill supporter and Sanitation District watchdog Julie Tacker, “this is ridiculous, its a waste of rate payer money.”

The two remaining board members voted to join the independent investigation into Mayor Hill and share the expense with the City of Arroyo Grande, citing exposure to potential litigation from Hill’s alleged misconduct.

District Board member alternate Karen White expressed frustration at what she called “parasitic” politics as usual at the South County Sanitation District.

“It gets both frustrating and tiresome to hear the same old maladies week after week”, White said, “I believe it also discourages more citizens from actually coming forward to assist in solving the problems facing this area.”

The investigation into Mayor Jim Hill’s alleged misconduct is expected to take at least six weeks with the non-attorney investigator making $150.00 an hour.

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