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?”


Loading...
MaryMalone

QUOTING THE ARTICLE: SLO County Administrative Officer Dan Buckshi said he plans to shift her to another county position.


Another position? Why? Was the missionary position not worthy of $68,870/year?


It seems, at $68,870 per year, Ms. Aispuro is going to be one expensive piece of tail that the TAXPAYERS of SLO County–not the benefactor of the piece of tail–will have to bear.


It was bad enough when Gibson was just a pathetic joke of an aging man who can’t keep his *ick in his pants. But now that taxpayers have to pay for his pitiful attempts to turn back the clock and reclaim his waning virility, it is an expensive insult to the taxpayers of the county.


rogerfreberg

County jobs should not be patronage.


The real issue is between Gibson and his “assistant” and how they want to handle things… it just looks like he wants to keep her around and convenient.


MaryMalone

I agree, rogerfreberg. I think he could set her up in a private room in a brothel and, not only would it be less expensive, it would be GIBSON who would have to pay for it, not the taxpayers of SLO County.


SLOBIRD

Dan Buckshi, the same County official that said his boss’s extramarital affair for the immoral home wreckers was not costing the County money is now going to pay a ransom of $67.000 a year PLUS BENEFITS FOR THE SERVICES OF A WHORE. See how they spend this and how their mentality works? And then, for Buckshi to say ” to be paid from supervisor discretionary funds”! MR, BUCKSHI, THIS IS STILL TAXPAYER”S MONEY, NOT YOURS, NOT YOUR BOSS’, MR. GIBSON, NOT CHERIE AISPURO. IT BELONGS TO THE TAXPAYERS SO PLEASE DO NOT SAY IT IS NOT COSTING TAXPAYERS ANYTHING. AND WHY HAVE YOU NOT GOTTEN A WRITTEN AGREEMENT REGRADING A CONSENTUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE TWO IMMORAL HOME WRECKERS, PROTECTING THE TAXPAYERS FRIM FURTHER LEGAL ISSUES. GET OFF YOUR ASS AND PROTECT THE PEOPLE WHO PAY YOUR SALARY, YOU A$$!


SLOBIRD

Use the discretionary funds to mail notices to the taxpayers regarding how you and your cronies are trying to do a land grab to the folks over the grade. You remember what you said, the County could not afford to do a mail because it was to expense. MR. GIBSON, YOU ARE TOO IMMORAL, CORRUPT AND DISHONEST TO REMAIN IN OFFICE. DO SOMETHING RIGHT AND GET THE HELL OUT OF TOWN AND TAKE YOUR BEDFELLOW WITH YOU!


Bored Watcher

Why do WE OWE Cherie a cushy County job?


Is it the job of SLOSEA to get involved (at what cost)?


I’m of the opinion County Counsel should simply do the right thing and let Cherie go, she’s got a nice resume, she’ll do fine in the job hunting world…would love to see her lined up at the One Stop behind teenage burger flippers and graying engineers.


Really, why does she need a County job?

Bruce owns a successful orange grove in lovely Cayucos, Cherie could do the books or there’s always packing and shipping.

Seriously, she could keep busy just counting Bruce’s millions, or lack thereof after Grace takes him to the cleaners.


Bruce and Cherie brought this mess upon themselves, it is not up to us, the taxpayers, to pay to clean it up!

Send Bruce the bill!!!!


MaryMalone

Perhaps the only way Ms. Aispuro can get a job is if she whores for a county supervisor as pathetic as Bruce Gibson, and perhaps Mr. Gibson doesn’t think Ms. Aispuro having her legs in the air for him is worth $68,780 per year if HE has to pay it. However, if he can get her legs in the air and it doesn’t cost HIM anything, she can still get paid for her “job” with the county.


Crusader

You’re absolutely right.


I’ve had it with all this crap. I’m tired of the taxpayers getting stuffed by degenerates like Gibson and Aispuro. I have also lost respect for the other supervisors for not privately pressuring Gibson to resign and for not pressing for the firing of Aispuro. Then again it’s one big freaking party on the taxpayers’ tab, right?


I wish it was my call. I’d oust both of them and I would do it with extreme prejudice.


CambriaKing

I wish CCN was delivered in my driveway in the morning so I could get the news I so desire. I’ve been waiting for somebody to say all the things that need to be said, but are afraid to, lest we seem judgmental…


Judgment is the first law of freedom…if I can’t say what you are doing is wrong, then I am not free!


Thank you CCN for allowing us our freedom. This is a sickening mess. The more the information comes out, the more we see he is a liar. Wait til his wife has had enough and really tells us what he is like.


Bruce…make it go away. Resign! We can get along without you, you’re not as great as you think you are.


Kevin Rice

So will you be at Tuesday’s board meeting at 9 a.m. to say all these things?


Kevin Rice

I think everyone should come speak and find out if they dare do so. Will you attend?


Critical comment is every bit as legitimate, if not more so, then laudatory comment–after all, the Constitution explicitly guarantees the right to redress grievances, but I’m not aware of any explicit right to praise your representatives.


slojustice

Just another example of the new Oligarchy system in our local governments. Our government elites handle things differently than if they truly felt they were looking out for their constituents. They are out for themselves. How dare you demand any accountability for their actions. We just need to be good peasants and go away.


dante0182

No different than the city, county and cal poly elites giving each other jobs, contracts and appointments.


MaryMalone

There are a couple of very big differences, and if you cannot recognize them, then that speaks to your own lack of morals.


As the world turns

MaryMalone,

After reading your comments on this topic which are in extremely poor taste and wording, you are in no position to call out anyone on lack of morals.


racket

One hopes to see SLOCEA weigh in on this preferential hiring.


fhill123

They wii probably have to narrow the opening of those new devices from the ankle-sized ones.


zaphod

Only for you.


zaphod

far more interesting then sexual apparatus is the variety and conditions of employment down there at the government center


BeenThereDoneThat

When this all hit about two weeks ago, many here said it is no one’s business. I argued that yes it is for reasons LIKE THIS!!! I am not in to the story for the titilation. I don’t really give a damn who he sleeps with, UNLESS a situation like a co-worker. If he wants to sleep with the neighbor or someone not in a position he affects, then it is his wifes problem, not mine.


The worse part is not only does he screw up but then the county screws up in the way they handle the reaction to it. AMAZING!!


They ought to consider when guys get in postions of power to put an ankle like tracking device on their penises.


dante0182

I agree BeenThereDoneThat. Replace “Gibson” with “developer” or “large corporation” costing taxpayers money, and certain people defending Gibson would be shouting obscenities from hill tops.


1 2 3 5