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Sanitation District's Fiscal Manager Suspended

Investigation: More than $200,000 may be missing, but no charges have been filed against the 19-year employee.


The fiscal operations manager of the Ventura Regional Sanitation District has been suspended while investigators look into the alleged disappearance of more than $200,000, district officials said Tuesday.

Bill Smith, the district's general manager, said he suspended Carol Ann Davenport on Friday.

Davenport, a 19-year employee, has met with the Ventura County district attorney's office, according to sources close to the investigation. However, she has not been arrested and no charges have been filed, officials said.

A district attorney's investigator refused to discuss the case. Smith said, "It's an allegation, technically, at this point. She's innocent until proven guilty."

Davenport couldn't be reached for comment.

News of the investigation shocked district board members and co-workers, who said Davenport has had a clean record during her years managing accounts for the public agency.

If the allegations are true, "It's a breakdown of personal trust," said Don Gunderson, a 10-year district board member who also sits on the district's personnel and finance committee.

The district, established by county government in 1970, contracts with eight of the 10 Ventura County cities to store trash at the Toland Road landfill.

Gunderson said recent audits have revealed no impropriety and the only criticism the department has received from auditors was that Davenport should delegate more fiscal responsibility to her five-member staff.

"The audit reports from the district are squeaky clean," he said. "They are remarkable."

Gunderson said a transaction late last week prompted district staff to contact district attorney investigators. Gunderson said he was notified of the allegations Friday morning.

"It's very stressful for everybody," Smith said. "Nineteen years is a long, long time."

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