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Citizens selected for sewer consultant search 

Morro Bay officials and the public will have equal ranks on a subcommittee tasked with choosing the next planning consultants for the city’s wastewater reclamation facility project.

The City Council originally planned to let two of its members—Christine Johnson and Mayor Jamie Irons—three senior city staffers, and two citizens evaluate applications and sit on an interview panel to pick who would lead the effort to find a new location for the plant, but after receiving eight letters of interest from knowledgeable community members, the council opted to expand the subcommittee to allow for five citizen representatives.

Councilman Noah Smukler worried that more members would needlessly complicate the process, but councilmembers George Leage and Nancy Johnson, who strongly opposed moving the plant from its current location, wanted as many voices in the discussion as possible. Leage proposed that each council member appoint a citizen to the subcommittee, but the council ultimately decided for each member to list his or her top five choices and tally the results.

“I’m really afraid of a clique going on here,” Leage said.

The selected citizens are Valerie Levulet, Paul Donnelly, Stephen Shivley, Don Boatman, and Donald Smith. The only candidate Johnson and Leage supported who didn’t make the cut was former councilman Rick Grantham.

Consultants have until April 15 to file their applications, and the selection process is expected to occur April 22 to 26.

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