Adam Hill’s chief aide departing

August 9, 2012

Adam Hill

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill’s administrative assistant Susan Devine is stepping down amid swirling allegations that the supervisor exploited government resources promoting his reelection campaign, and then mounted an attempt to destroy media groups reporting on his often bizarre behavior.

Devine managed Hill’s successful campaign for supervisor in 2008. Hill later appointed Devine as his administrative assistant.

“Susan is the kindest and most resourceful person I know,” Hill said in a press release. “In my time in public life, all of my successes and none of my mistakes can be attributed to her guidance and good advice.”

In December, Hill sent an email from his county internet address entitled, “It all comes down to leadership.” In the email he listed reasons he believed he should win reelection, and asked recipients to donate to his campaign.

Hill’s use of his tax-supported office in his bid for reelection appears to be a violation of Government Codes 54964 and 8314, banning government officials from using public resources, including buildings, computers or phones to discourage or support a ballot measure or political campaign.

In addition, Hill has been using his elected position to bully advertisers and supporters of CalCoastNews in a campaign to cripple the website. Hill used his county internet address to send emails making false claims — for example, that CalCoastNews is an anti-government website paying  sources to fabricate comments.

Several requests for emails Hill has sent out using government equipment to campaign for his reelection or defame CalCoastNews were denied by County Counsel Warren Jensen. Jensen claims that as long as Hill uses his private email account, regardless of whether he is using county resources, his correspondence is exempt from disclosure under California’s Public Record’s Act.

“Mr. Hill indicated to me that he has a private email account and that he would have used that private email account for any emails regarding the subjects that you identified in your request,” Jensen said in an email. “Any such emails on Mr. Hill’s private email account are not public records and are not subject to disclosure. I have personally prepared this response in consultation with Mr. Hill, as indicated in the foregoing.”

Until a few weeks ago the city of Auburn also refused to disclose emails sent by its government officials through private email accounts. A few months after California’s First Amendment attorney Peter Scheer filed a lawsuit against the city of Auburn, the city settled and agreed to make emails about city business public regardless of an officials use of a private email account.

“While a settlement does not create a legally-binding precedent for other cities, the First Amendment Coalition plans to use the agreement with Auburn as a model that other governments and agencies should adopt,” Scheer said. “Other cities and counties, if they are serious about providing transparency in government, will follow Auburn’s example. It costs them nothing, while simplifying the management of emails and improving compliance with open-record laws.”

In a press release, Carmel & Naccasha, LLP announced its paralegal, Hannah Miller, will be taking over the position as Hill’s legislative assistant.

“While we will miss Hannah’s energy, camaraderie and strong work ethic, we are thrilled for her about this opportunity,” according to the firm’s release. “Hannah is uniquely qualified for this position and we are truly excited to see her extraordinary people skills and extensive knowledge of law and of local government put to such a valuable public use.”


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willieslo

Once in a while works conscientiously only to brown nose, otherwise an immature fool

I am waiting for a recall to sign my name to, as well as to promote it and see it through

Hes got to go!


Crusader

If CCN continues to dig, this putz is going down. He has no doubt left quite a trail of wrongdoings based on the belief that he was invulnerable — which he pretty much was until CCN got involved. He’s going to fall and it’s not going to be pretty.


Cindy

Isn’t it ironic tha tthe very media group who he “tried to” topple will not topple him!


pasoparent5

Yet another thorough investigative piece by CCN… This site continues to deliver real news!


But how long it will be (if ever) before the Trib or other local media outlets publish anything about Susan’s departure or Adam’s bullying e-mails?


Would thei media’s (lack of) coverage be different if this story were about Frank Mecham? The Trib’s been bed buddies w/Adam Hill for so long; they seem to let him get away with just about anything.


danika

I have become an advertiser on CCN directly BECAUSE of Mr. Hill’s attack on CCN. I chose to support CCN with my business advertising BECAUSE of their value and dedication to this community…MY community. I encourage all other business owners who utilize CCN for any reason, please step up and show your suppot in advertising right here. Show Mr. Hill that this community DEMANDS transparancy and officials who deserve the money we pay them.


Thank you, CCN, for working hard for the people in your community.


TacomaRose

This is total BS !!!


If Hill is using his private email account to conduct county business, particularly if he is using tax paid resources, then these emails are not exempt from disclosure.


If this were the case then elected officials could completely subvert the Brown Act by communicating thru private email. Many of the dishonest ones probably do this anyway.


Jensen must know this basic truth and if he is trying to cover Hill’s tracks then he is every bit the scoundrel that Hill is.


Someone needs to give SLO county govt an enema.


kettle

Hills new legislative assistant may give him some good advise.


“E-mail is here to stay, and stay, and stay. Your message is forever so think twice before committing your thoughts to posterity by sending them in an e-mail.”


http://www.carnaclaw.com/news-and-events/paralegals-corner/guidelines-for-creating-professional-e-mail-messages/


Mr. Holly

It should not be done with an enema but a recall of this fool would be more efficient as it would be a one time application and reduce the amount of s–t that we get from this guy.


NorCoMod

So Warren Jensen “consults” with his client Adam Hill and Hill “assures” him that he used his private email account when he sent out these scurrilous emails from his public office. You suppose Jensen checked out Hill’s claim or did he take his word for it?


A Hill and the cloud of drama that surrounds him is singlehandedly making a mockery of the position of SLO County Supervisor and the continued pandering from Warren Jensen only emboldens such behavior. Maybe Jensen will grow a pair after September.


Apparently even Susan Devine has had enough.


kettle

Jensen is retiring, some one else will have to sweep up this mess.


“Chief Deputy Counsel Rita Neal will replace Jensen, effective Sept. 30, for a 4-year term.”

“Asked what he will remember, Jensen quickly alluded to the “great bunch of people” he worked with, beginning with Lindholm, going forward to Neal, and including many others in between.

As to challenging cases, he said the David Edge-Gail Wilcox case sticks out. Edge and Wilcox, the county’s top two administrators, both were fired by the Board of Supervisors in 2009, and the ensuing legal action and public scandal lasted most of the year.”


http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/06/13/v-print/2103874/warren-jensen-retirement.html


http://calcoastnews.com/2010/02/gail-wilcox-gets-180000-to-settle-county-lawsuit/


furthermore

First paragraph, “attempt to destroy media groups,” plural. Hmmmm. Who are the other unnamed media groups, CCNNN and CCNNNNNNNNN?


Scarlet

Ummm….how about New Times often and publicly.


furthermore

Nope. Hill was interviewed extensively by New Times. I’ve seen no clear evidence Hill has gone after New Times publicly. So WHO are the other unnamed media groups attacked? Plural.


If New Times was attacked then CCN should have mentioned that.


So who are these unnamed media groups?


You shouldn’t have to guess in journalism.


MaryMalone

Congalton maybe?


furthermore

Sorry, Mary, you’re out of guesses.


What was that course Mr. Loving taught in college? Veterinary medicine? Culinary arts? Oh, journalism, you say?


I shouldn’t have to guess.


But by the quality of the effort presented here that’s all I — or any serious reader — can possibly do.


kettle

So tell us furthermore, anonymous commenter where is your writing or website?


How bout your credentials? GED? Why are you hiding?


“I shouldn’t have to guess.” That is more of a personal problem.


MaryMalone

That was my first guess.


What kind of game are you playing when you ask a question and then dismiss the answers out of hand?


kettle

What we have here is a anonymous troll who wants to be a back seat writer.


“should have mentioned” should have? there is no such requirement.


Did you ever think that the other party did not want it out in the open?

Its called discretion and protecting your sources in journalism.


furthermore

Kettle prattles: “Did you ever think that the other party did not want it out in the open? Its called discretion and protecting your sources in journalism.”


Am I being too clear for you?


This is what the article says: “…and then (Hill) mounted an attempt to destroy media groups reporting on…. ”


It’s obvious (to any objective adult reader) that it’s hardly a matter of “discretion” or “protecting sources” not to mention facts vital to the reason for the article’s very existence.


“Discretion” would have been not to use “media groups” — plural — at all when no additional groups are mentioned. “Protecting sources” is usually identified by adding, “as well as a group that requests anonymity.” There is no such qualification made here.


The only source CCN is protecting is CCN, because there is only ONE media group in the county that even remotely fits the article’s hyperbolic, rather hysterical description of threatened destruction — and that’s CCN.


MaryMalone

Oh, give it a fracking rest.


How are you so familiar with EVERY publication in the county that you can make such an asinine claim: “The only source CCN is protecting is CCN, because there is only ONE media group in the county that even remotely fits the article’s hyperbolic, rather hysterical description of threatened destruction — and that’s CCN.”


It is clear your only purpose here is to attack CCN. You would garner more respect if you would at least be honest about it.


BeenThereDoneThat

— for example, that CalCoastNews is an anti-government website paying sources to fabricate comments.


To Karen: I haven’t received any moneies. I must be due a payment according to Mr. Hill?? Just make the check to BTDT ;-)


racket

Here’s my pre-medication conspiracy theory:


1) “Carmel & Naccasha” used to be “Carmel and Lyon.”

2) Lyon was a heavy hitter in many of Supe Gibson’s early issues.

3) Ergo, Carmel is a backstage link between Gibson and Hill.


MaryMalone

I think I’ll wait for the post-medication hit parade of conspiracy theories.


racket

Meds are working now…


Wasn’t Lyon deputy county counsel for awhile?


Not that it matters to the unmedicated, but it seems like County Counselor Jensen is part of the Hill problem.


MaryMalone

Any County Counselor will be part of the problem because their job is to protect the county and its officials and staff.


They don’t give a rat’s patoot about the citizenry because protecting them is simply not a priority.


As the world turns

racket, you are spot on. Lyon and Carmel was also close with Wallace. Carmel is Wallace’s neighbor. Let’s follow the dots.


pasoparent5

Agreed, Astheworldturns! Whatever meds racket’s taking should be administered to the rest of us.


As the world turns

pasoparent5, Some people who are in charge should be on meds and are not which may be one reason government is such a mess.