Supervisor’s zipper costly to county taxpayers

November 29, 2012

Bruce Gibson

By DANIEL BLACKBURN and KAREN VELIE

Supervisor Bruce Gibson’s adulterous, long-term affair with a subordinate — his legislative assistant of six years — will cost county taxpayers $68,870 in annual salary plus benefits for a parallel county position she’s been offered by the county administrator.

Cherie Aispuro was appointed by Gibson as his legislative assistant, an at-will job that concludes when the elected official leaves office. After news of the affair with Gibson became public, the county offered Aispuro the new job.

SLO County Administrative Officer Dan Buckshi said he plans to shift her to another county position. Legislative assistants, however, are not considered civil servants, and do not have the ability to transfer to a county civil service position.

Former North County supervisor Mike Ryan, who served on the board for eight years, was outspokenly critical of Buckshi’s decision.

“Reassigning her? There is no reassigning her,” Ryan told CalCoastNews. “(The county) can’t let her go, because she works for Bruce Gibson, and they can’t reassign her into a civil servant position without violating civil service. She has to get back into line for a job. Otherwise she’s taking a job that someone else was waiting for.”

Cherie Aispuro

Ryan added, “I like Dan (Buckshi) and I think he is a very capable guy, but if (County Counsel) Rita Neal is guiding him through this, he may have the wrong guide. Both, incidentally, just got nice contracts from the board.”

Although her previous position in the clerk recorder’s office paid about $35,000 a year, the county is offering Aispuro the same $68,870 she has been earning, to be paid from supervisor discretionary funds. Buckshi made his decision based on the premise that she once worked for the county. She quit county employment to work for Gibson. Other county employees who have quit positions to become supervisors’ legislative assistants, however, have not similarly benefited. None was subsequently offered a job with the county.

Several local attorneys speculate that county counsel weighed the potential financial risk if Aispuro should lose her position and then sue for sexual harassment. Officials, apparently determined to protect the county, have offered her equal compensation, without regard for qualifications or available county jobs.

U.S. courts have been wrestling with increasingly technical sexual harassment and coercion issues for at least the last decade. Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case regarding responsibilities of people in supervising positions in instances of sexual harassment.

And in 2005, the California Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in the case of Miller v. Department of Corrections which held that even if a supervisor’s sexual relationship was consensual, the employer nevertheless should be held legally liable for creating a hostile work environment. Employees can sue their employers for sexual harassment if their employment is affected by an office romance between their supervisor and a fellow employee.

The court explained: “Although an isolated instance of favoritism on the part of a supervisor toward a female employee with whom the supervisor is conducting a consensual sexual affair ordinarily would not constitute sexual harassment, when such sexual favoritism in a workplace is sufficiently widespread, it may create an actionable hostile work environment in which the demeaning message is conveyed to female employees that they are viewed by management as ‘sexual playthings,’ or that the way required for women to get ahead in the workplace is by engaging in sexual conduct with their supervisors or the management.”

Gibson, 60, has not said when he started his affair with his assistant other than to admit that it has been a long-term sexual relationship. More than three years ago, a friend of Gibson’s wife called CalCoastNews to tell of the ongoing affair (of which Gibson’s wife was aware, according to the friend). Calls to Gibson’s wife at the time were not returned.

Gibson told The Tribune recently that his wife became aware of the affair only a week ago.

County attorney Neal downplayed Gibson and Aispuro’s affair, noting that the county doesn’t have a written policy that prohibits county employees from having relationships.

When a 2009 workplace sex scandal ended with the Board of Supervisors’ termination of the county’s top two administrators, David Edge and Gail Wilcox, the Board approved a set of “Organizational Values” to be followed by all county officials and staff.

“We are dedicated to high ethical and moral standards and uncompromising honesty in our dealings with the public and each other,” according to the Organizational Values. “We assume personal responsibility for our conduct and actions and follow through on our commitments.”

Neither Gibson, Neal nor Buckshi responded to questions about the use of discretionary funds for a non-public purpose, or why Aispuro is winning a lucrative county job after having an affair with her supervisor.

San Luis Obispo-based attorney Stew Jenkins said that offering Aispuro a job in the aftermath of the affair does not seem appropriate from a fairness standpoint, and that the use of supervisor discretionary funds to assure Aispuro stays employed is improper.

“Discretionary finds have to be used for a public purpose,” Jenkins said.

And Ryan wondered: “How did Gibson and Aispuro think they could pull this off and not have the public find out?”


94 Comments

  1. OsosGrande says:

    Has anyone thought of a Recall election if Bruce does not resign?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 29 Thumb down 7

    • Kevin Rice says:

      Yes. Who wants to lead it that lives in the second district?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

    • criticalobserver says:

      I find it amusing that Ms. Neal conducted the investigation of the Gibson affair. I suppose that she finds herself immeniently qualified to conduct the inquiry given her own past behavior as the “other woman” involved with a prominent local married attorney that went on to become a Judge. I suppose that if she can rationalize her own deporable personal behavior then certainly she can clear Mr. Gibson. There is no conflict there…Gibson votes to appoint her as County Counsel and gives her fat contract. She returns the favor. County politics at it’s disappointing best. Who oversees Ms. Neal?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

    • DashRiprock says:

      how could anyone of the female persuasion be attracted to gibson?…LOL, no question he used position of authority to get into her naive panties……what a loser…bust him out ASAP

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  2. RU4Real says:

    Mary, you’re gonna have to find MORE & BETTER arguments than THAT, if “Loose Legs” Cheri is to win the “sexual harassment ” charge in court…She WAS A WILLING PARTICIPANT…I’m sure there’s an abundance of “hostility in THAT workplace, due to the unfair ADVANTAGE Cheri had over other employees…THEY could sue, claiming a “HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 11

    • MaryMalone says:

      You appear to be woefully uneducated about this subject. Here’s a start: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/ (Department of Fair Employment and Housing).

      There is also a lot of case-specific information elsewhere on the internet.

      I have, much to my surprise, over the last few years, had to become knowledgeable about these issues.

      RU4Real, you need to study the sexual harassment laws…especially before you criticize others who are more informed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

      • hotgrandma says:

        Mary — I have just been watching the Board of Supervisors and I remembered what you said about government: “but if we were transparent, you would know what we are doing”. The best quote ever! It is so true on every level. (My comment is slightly off subject but not much.)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • celeryclown says:

      Gibson should resign and Aispuro should look for a job outside the cushy County one she’s being offered. Of course, that requires a moral compass for both.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 9

      • MaryMalone says:

        I agree. Does anybody really think that giving Aispuro a job in another county division is going to stop the damage being done by the illicit affair between Gibson and Aispuro? All the new job will do is give her more close exposure to other men whose ****s she can use in her climb up the county status ladder.

        The fact that she will be rewarded for the affair with a new job won’t stop any potential sexual harassment claims from the other female employees exposed to the toxic environment of Gibson, a county supervisor, screwing his assistant, and his assistant benefiting from him screwing her.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 14

  3. MaryMalone says:

    Okay, call me “curious.” I google imaged her and found this photo: /tinyurl.com/cbwhew7

    Pardon, but does she look in the early stages of pregnancy?

    The photo image accompanies an Adobe Press article, published 6/12/2012, “Food Banks to Offer Summer Lunches,” at tinyurl.com/d8msos2

    This is the caption below the article:
    “The “One Day, One Dollar, One Big Challenge to Feed the Hungry Campaign” kicks off today. Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County volunteers, from left, Amy Gillman, Cherie Aispuro and Susan Devine raise support for the campaign at the San Luis Obispo headquarters. //Contributed”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 21

    • MaryMalone says:

      I appreciate the votes, one way or the other. The way the top pooches out, I think it is a possibility. Of course, it is also a possibility she isn’t pregnant.

      However, if she was in early pregnancy then (June 2012), she may be just about ready to deliver now, which could make Gibson’s reasons for going public with their affair.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 18

    • Kevin Rice says:

      Oh, man…. over the top. She’s holding a donation box and shifting her stance.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 6

      • MaryMalone says:

        I would appreciate it if you would keep your psychic intuition projects focused on other people. I would also appreciate it if you would keep your negative opinions about me, personally, to yourself.

        I will repeat what I said the last time you personally attacked me, based on your own odd interpretation of my motives: you have lost yourself a loyal supporter, Kevin.

        Now, isn’t that enough for you?

        Believe me, you really don’t want to turn me into an active opponent.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 30

        • Kevin Rice says:

          Huh? “She’s shifting her stance” is a personal attack? Besides, we don’t even know who you are to be personal in the first place.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

          • MaryMalone says:

            Your interpretation of my “stance” is dead wrong, and you had to do one heck of a lot of spinning to come up with that interpretation.

            Your claim that you can’t make a personal attack on another board poster because you don’t know who they are is absurd, and flies in the face of CCN’s interpretation of its own rules. It is also another example of how you will spin reality to fit your own needs.

            I don’t know what your problem is, but please direct it elsewhere.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 23

            • Kevin Rice says:

              You’re way off base. The reference is to the photo, not you. You must chill.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfX_oDzOxsc

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

              • MrM says:

                I agree Kevin….The Mary Malone posts are way off topic and repugnant.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

                • MaryMalone says:

                  I believe it is you, Mr. M, who is off topic.

                  Aispuro and Gibson have been having a long-term extramarital affair, it is just now outed, I find a photo which I believe may indicate that in June Aispuro was in an early stage of pregnancy (which would make her approaching the baby’s delivery date now, and you say a question of whether or not Aispuro is pregnant is “off topic”?

                  If a pregnancy exists, it would be very pertinent to the quick slick move Gibson and his cohorts at the County arranged this new job, and I think taxpayers would be interested in knowing because, if she was pregnant and when she did deliver, she would undoubtedly go out on a maternity leave….at $68,780 per year.

                  The rules have already been bent for her, thanks to her achievement of being Gibson’s sex object, if she went out on leave for any reason (but certainly if it was a maternity leave), she would be able to stay out as long as she wanted, and Gibson and his amoral cronies would certainly squelch any hint of question about it.

                  As far as my comment being “repugnant,” I guess that has to do with your moral compass. I find it repugnant that the taxpayers are having to pay off a County Supervisor’s sex toy for their extramarital affair. I find it prepugnant that Mrs. Gibson has had to suffer the impact of Gibson’s affair with his county-paid slut. I also find it repugnant that Gibson refuses to resign from office but, instead, takes advantage of–and, indeed, flaunts–his willingness to ignore state regulations regarding conflicts of interest in his ensuring that Aispuro will continue to profit from spreading her legs for him.

                  And there is no assurance that Aispuro, and the other staff working for the supervisors, won’t file sexual hrassment charges against Gibson and the County. The County certainly won’t be getting a signed agreement from Aispuro because, to even request it, would indicate the County’s culpability in the sexual harassment fall-out from the Gibson-Aispuro extramarital affair.

                  But go ahead and focus your odd idea of morality on me, a poster, instead of on the topic of the article. It is this kind of thinking and behavior that will ensure Gibson and Aispuro get away with their sex-driven fraud.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

              • MaryMalone says:

                I don’t believe your comment has to do with the photo, and I don’t think the video to which you linked was appropriate or funny, given the context of the seriousness of the TOPIC of this folder.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

Comments are closed.