Legislative assistants cost increase $500,000 under Gibson

March 23, 2013
Julie Tacker

Julie Tacker


In 2004, when Supervisor Debbie Arnold served as the legislative assistant to then District 5 Supervisor Mike Ryan, her salary was a respectable $3,905 a month.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson was elected in 2006 and hired Mrs. Cherie Aispuro as his legislative assistant (LA) away from the county clerk’s office. The duo took an office on the 4th floor of the new county government center in January 2007. Aispuro’s starting salary was the same as the other four LA’s — $4,113 per month, slightly over $200 a month above the LA’s of 2004.

After only six months on the job, when the fiscal year 2007/2008 budget was adopted in June, the LA position received a $796.00 monthly increase, or 19 percent. This was a collective $47,760 annual increase realized by all five of the supervisor’s assistants, including Aispuro, at taxpayers’ expense.

A year later, when the fiscal year 2008/2009 budget was adopted the LA position again received a sizable increase, this time for $832 per month, another 18 percent. Multiplied by five assistants, the county taxpayers incurred another $49,920 annually.

The two-year cumulative increase cost to the taxpayer is just under $100,000 per year. These sizable increases came in 2007 and 2008 when the economy was tanking and budget cutbacks were the norm. Only Gibson remains on the board since those hefty increases and the LA’s salary remains at $5,741 per month; the total cost is over $500,000 since Gibson and Aispuro took office.

To compound the problem, the “at will” legislative assistant has no job description on file. Nice work if you can get it. It is unclear what each LA does. One would think they field phone calls, book the supervisor’s calendar with meetings, dinner engagements, ribbon cuttings, photo op’s and occasionally government business, but apparently, like a private sector corporate secretary, these assistants also run personal errands. Taking the supervisor’s car to be serviced, dropping off and picking up dry cleaning, and in another supervisor’s case, walking dogs and using county resources to run his re-election campaign in 2012.

Contrary to what County Administrator Dan Buckshi and County Counsel Rita Neal have repeatedly said, “No county resources (i.e. public funds) were used,” the Gibson Aispuro affair has cost the taxpayers plenty to date and it is likely to escalate.

Some would have you believe the long-term Gibson and Aispuro affair is “much ado about nothing.” County staff, hired by and performance reviewed by the supervisors, have washed their hands of the matter suggesting we the public, who pay their salaries, “move along — nothing to see here.”

Note: Only fifteen years ago, there was just one assistant for all five of the supervisors to share.

Julie Tacker is a local activist who lives in Los Osos.


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High paid assistants are cheaper than a massage parlor. We should applaud Gibson’s efforts to keep costs down. He brings new meaning to trimming the budget.

Is there a way to remove all the Los Osos sewer clutter that is spamming up this topic? It’s kind of hard to follow the responses to the actual article with off-topic subject getting so much in the way.

(yes, I understand that the LO CSD is a vital organ for many, but this is just not about that)

A tax payers strike is the only thing that will get people like Gibson’s attention.

Hey, its only M O N E Y for which the public receives little or no direct benefits. Therefore what’s the fuss!!

Besides, it grows on trees! Or at least on a printing press, if one was the Federal Reserve.

Ms. Tacker, to be fair, how much do you feel that you as a CSD board member, cost the taxpayers of of not only San Luis County, but of California?

Like him or not, he doesn’t hold a candle.

Moliere once said, “One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others.”

If all you can do is attack the messenger, then you really don’t have much of a point.

It appears that when all of these raises were enacted the board was controlled by the three amigos, Achadjian, Lenthall and Ovitt. Who all feigned to be conservative tax dollar guardians. We can see that was not true and now with Arnold, Mecham and Teixeira in control we can expect the same squandering of county tax dollars.

You can attack the messenger Mary, especially when she distorts the facts. Typical right wing tactic when they can’t prove their point factually.

Mary, perhaps you should spend some time studying ethical dissonance while at the same time researching the personal history of the “messenger.”

When you have finished, it will become abundantly clear EXACTLY what my point was.

Try reflecting on the notion that two wrongs don’t make a right.

Indeed one should examine oneself… and then maybe examine the topic and subject of the opinion piece at hand before condemning others.

@Lynette, if memory serves, the reason the Los Osos board filed for bankruptcy was because the people on the board that were recalled couldn’t wait for the public’s vote. Those members, who were recalled, had committed the community to millions of dollars that should never have been committed to until the people’s vote was taken. Pretty simple. Tacker voted against entering into those contracts, the next board had to file for bankruptcy protection, seems to me the bankruptcy should be over by now.

The similarities with Gibson is the arrogance of government officials.

I don’t remember anything about a vote among the people to put a sewer in place, the studies had been done,sites were picked for construction, the project had been stalled long enough, 25 years, and the water board had a gun to the County/CSD ‘s collective heads, grants were in place and contracts had been let. The only reason for the bankruptcy was because the new CSD board led by tacker stopped the job in mid stream, with the bills to be paid and lawsuits to follow the CSD had no money to pay as the grant monies are not going to be used to pay for unfinished work or lawsuits.

Hi take…,

The LOCSD auditors (in their 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 audit reports) have explained why the LOCSD Bankruptcy occurred. The LOCSD BOD and staff did not spend the taxpayer’s money according to the LOCSD’s adopted 2005-2006 budget.

Additionally, the LOCSD auditors clarified in their audit(s) that until the Bankruptcy is resolved the ability of the LOCSD to continue as a viable operation is in doubt.

As the creditors have filed an appeal contesting the bankruptcy, the bankruptcy’s outcome is as yet unknown.

Thanks for the bankruptcy explanation MrM. Still think the previous board is culpable for the project starting before the voters could oust the board members. “Myself” says Tacker led the new CSD, she wasn’t the president was she? And the project was stopped “midstream’, hardly, the project had barely begun and just as is going on today in Los Osos, pipes could have continued to go in and the plant location could have changed. To date, the Los Osos plant hasn’t been designed or the near the cemetery property purchased.

Even today, some in folks involved in Morro Bay are suggesting that Los Osos could still join Cayucos, Morro Bay and CMC in a regional plant…to avoid having to build small plants all over the coast.

I’m not seeing any parallel to Gibson and the Leg Assit. position.

Hi take….,

You may assign blame to whomever you wish; however, the LOCSD auditors findings from 2006 to present say otherwise.

You are correct when you say the project was not stopped ‘midstream’ as it was actually stopped towards the end of the project.

Officially, he project began in 2002 when the Los Osos property owners (by an 85% majority) voted to accept a $21,000,000 Bond Issue to build the waste water project as clearly described in the voting materials. Over a long period of three years (2002-2005) the LOCSD proceeded on to finalize design, acquire property and obtain all needed governmental permits; with the LOCSD entering into several multi-million contracts with the State and private organizations.

By the time construction commenced in August 2005, the project had already been underway for over three and a half years; with construction being the final part of the process.

I agree that the current project is similar to the prior project.

I also agree that after the recall the project could have been altered and commenced years earlier; but only if the LOCSD honored and met the conditions of the many contracts it was obligated to uphold; which it did not.

The then LOCSD BOD could have suspended only the building of the treatment site and continued the other aspects of the project (but only with the States permission per the contract). The LOCSD BOD did not do that but instead decided to suspend the entire project instead.

That decision led to months of legal arguments between the State, the project contractors and the LOCSD; all which ended with the LOCSD BOD’s refusal to comply with the State’s conditions to reactivate the project (which included a process to move the treatment site too) on November 3, 2005. After the LOCSD BOD refusal, and the breaching of several State contracts, the project funding was withdrawn. Without funding or funds on hand the BOD had no means to pursue a new project (hence the County taking over the project).

While the idea of connecting to a regional system is interesting, it is politically a non-starter. After all, it did not happen even though that idea was first proposed over 20 years ago.

MrM, thanks for your accurate and detailed posts, they explain what really happened. And the limbo ahead for the CSD due in a LARGE part to Tacker.


I think you’re stating what happend during another sewer project on the planet YOU live on. Because you are never describing what transpired before this one started.

Hi justme,

Any additional thoughts regarding the events surrounding the demise of the prior project? I would enjoy your sharing them as it gets rather lonely here on my planet.

Hey who cares. Gibson deserves a high priced hooker and that pansy adam hill probably can’t control his dog so he needs someone to help him. Its only our tax dollars being spent foolishly by petty tyrants so lets go on with the show

And that’s all those frauds are giving us…a show.

Good job, Julie!

I disagree, but worse still is the title on this piece. The title implies it was all Gibson’s fault. Who do we have to thank for the title, CalCoast or Ms. Tacker?

Whenever I’ve written a letter to the editor, the titles are written by the newspaper. In this case, it does sound like it’s Gibson’s fault, and it should. Gibson is the only current Board member that was on the Board when those raises were adopted.

BTW, it’s clear conflict if you’re the boss raising your “significant other’s” salary or reviewing their performance.

We’ve seen nepotism time and again down here in So. County…not surprising it goes on at higher levels of government, too.

Status, it was not Gibson’s vote alone that got the raises. It took a majority. There is a post above that explained who was on the board when the raises were given. So to claim that Gibson being the only one left on the board now is immaterial. The title is misleading if you look at the facts.

Yes, but when Lynette has a clear ax to grind with Julie, clear points regarding the title and content will not stop her from complaining about the author.

Attacking the messenger basically indicates you don’t have a point.

It will be very difficult to follow many posts on the internet, if you keep that viewpoint, Mary!

(but you are, of course, absolutely correct!)

You would know.


I wish they would stop feeding the stereotype of the over paid, over stuffed government employee.

Hey rogerfreberg….If the shoe fits?

That’s how the game is played these days. Politicians get the right to beat up the left and the left to beat up the right. Then the Politian moves in while the citizens are badmouthing each other and screw both sides to achieve their goal of… influence, greed and a long term job on our dime.

Sadly, there has not been a “right” in California for decades, though they are still perceived as an imminent threat to the left. Go figure.

Roger, do you understand the math and statistics of how Stereotypes develop?