So, I get home from a visit to my sister and there's the Trib's local page headline: "Report set on Public Works head." Ah, yes, the Paavo & Maria story is heading to it's official end when Tuesday afternoon County Administrator Jim Grant issues his official investigative report on the claims that Paavo Ogren and Maria Kelly's private canoodling involved any professional conflict of interests. The report is slated to start at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday,Oct 4.
Based on the Tribune story and from what Mother Calhoun knows of both the Los Osos Sewer Wars and the County's business-as-usual M.O., let me speculate that here's what will Happen Tuesday. 1) Paavo won't be fired. 2) The report will find no conflict of interest, no laws broken. The public will be told that everything is fine, that the complaints were unfounded (You know how those Los Osos Crazies love to file unfounded complaints.) Nothing to see here. Move along.
Of course, the second cat was let out of the bag by the brief Tribune story: "Grant said the alleged conflict factored into Ogren's annual performance evaluation but only in a larger context that also includes work products, leadership abilities, budgeting and feedback from staff, peers and the board, etc. So, yes this issue would be included as part of the annual evaluation," he wrote in an email, " but weighted based upon its overall significance determined by my findings."
Translation: Paavo's career advancement in this County just hit its glass ceiling because his reckless, unprofessional lack of judgement went public and so this couldn't possibly have been swept under the "personnel rug" so everyone could just continue with business as usual. So, after a decent interval, I suspect we may well read about Paavo accepting another well-paid job in another county so he can become their lawsuit-in-waiting problem. In SLOTown, there will be public smiles and congratulations to Paavo about his new job. Followed by lots of private sighs of relief that once again, SLOTown ducked a bullet.
On the entertainment side of this sorry story, if public comment is allowed on Tuesday following the report, there could be lots of raised voices, gavel banging, red faces and threats of adjorning the meeting. Happily, there'll be no hurled chairs, though, since the seats in the BOS room are bolted to the floor.