Gibson, Neal cover for Hill on CAPSLO dustup
April 5, 2014
Following a feud between County Supervisor Adam Hill and the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO), board of supervisor chairman Bruce Gibson and county counsel Rita Neal came to Hill’s defense claiming the controversial supervisor had always recused himself from issues regarding homeless services.
However, multiple videos of board meetings show Hill participating in discussions about funding homeless services, even though, at the time, his girlfriend was the director of the county’s homeless services program. Public officials are suppose to recuse themselves, meaning they do not participate in discussion or votes regarding an issue, when they have a conflict of interest.
At Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting, several speakers reprimanded Hill for personal attacks he launched on CAPSLO executives after they demoted his fiance Dee Torres in March from her position as homeless services director. After public comment, Gibson said that although he did not agree with Hill’s remarks, Hill had always recused himself from board matters pertaining to CAPSLO and homeless services. Neal, too, said that Hill had always recused himself.
A review of board meetings, however, shows that Hill has often participated in hearings on funding for homeless services, much of which goes to CAPSLO.
In December 2012, Hill participated in a preliminary hearing on the distribution of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant funds in which several CAPSLO employees made requests for funding. Hill argued that distributing grants to a smaller number of nonprofits would benefit the county.
When the board awarded the grant money a few months later, Hill again participated in the discussion, arguing the county should divert funds away from an Oceano drainage project and spend them instead on homeless services. When asked for his vote on the matter, he said he was abstaining.
Last December, Hill stayed behind the dais but did not comment during a hearing on HUD grant funds. However, in Dec. 2011, he chaired the hearing on distribution of HUD money.
Earlier that year, Hill chaired another hearing on funding allocations for nonprofits. During the June 2011 meeting, Hill accused North County Connection, a nonprofit competing with CAPSLO for money, of racism, anti-semitism and homophobia while the board considered a funding reduction for the organization.
Since then, Hill has at times recused himself and left the dias and at other times voiced his support for funding programs dealing with CAPSLO and homelessness.
On Tuesday, Gibson and Neal also said that Hill would, in the future, recuse himself from all matters pertaining to CAPSLO.
Last September, Hill cast a vote to award CAPSLO a $361,347 mental health services contract, a contract CAPSLO would not have received without Hill’s vote. Two months prior, he voted in favor of awarding the nonprofit a $1.5 million childcare contract.
Hill did not comment Tuesday about his past approach to board hearings dealing with CAPSLO funding or to the criticism of his reaction to Torres’s demotion.