The county’s special district oversight commission may having lingering questions about whether the county’s Environmental Health Division should take over mosquito control duties, but it won’t be getting those answers from its director.
In September, the Local Agency Formation Commission asked the division to evaluate the feasibility and possible benefits of dissolving the embezzlement-scarred Mosquito and Vector Control District and taking over its duties.
But in an Oct. 18 letter to the commission, Environmental Health Director Dean Peterson declined.
Peterson was unavailable for comment but wrote in the letter to LAFCo Executive Director Martha Poyatos that the task of such a study “exceeds the current resources at my disposal.” Peterson also reiterates an earlier position that, despite the fiscal issues of the district, it continues “effectively and efficiently” fulfilling the emission of controlling mosquitos and other vector-born diseases.
LAFCo’s request for Environmental Health to revisit the idea of transference grew from a San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury recommendation that the commission conduct the study.
Poyatos said she will forward Peterson’s letter to the grand jury.
The grand jury’s July report concluded that mismanagement, insufficient accountability and inadequate oversight led to the former finance director and her bookkeeper assistant stealing roughly $800,000 — some of which paid for the director’s legal fees in earlier and unrelated embezzlement cases — between 2009 and 2011 by giving themselves extra pay at a higher pay rate and fraudulent time off, excessively contributing to their deferred compensation funds and using credit cards for personal purchases. The jury also criticized district Bob Manager Bob Gay who hired Jo Ann Dearman, also known as Joanne Seeney, without a background or reference check and knocked the 21-member Board of Trustees as complicit by being too large and out of touch.
The embezzlement case led LAFCo to consider dissolving the district last year but the members ultimately opted to keep it intact with a future review. At the September LAFCo meeting to consider the formal reply to the grand jury report, Poyatos said fresh financial information is needed before a new review and possible dissolution request.
San Mateo County had previously handled the district’s duties but transferred rodent responsibilities in 2008 followed three years later by all vector control.
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