Hill ousted; Arnold, Compton take leadership

February 3, 2015
Supervisor Debbie Arnold

Supervisor Debbie Arnold


Amid allegations of sexism and a good old boys’ club, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Frank Mecham stepped down as board chairman in order to promote Supervisor Debbie Arnold to chair and Supervisor Lynn Compton to vice chair.

The move slates Compton to become board chairman in 2016. Hill previously was in position to claim the chairmanship next year.

Prior to making the restructuring recommendation, Mecham disputed allegations of sexism and a good old boy’s club. He said his proposal would restore an order to the rotation of chairmanships since Arnold represents district 5 and Compton serves district 4.

“I know how to fix this,” Mecham said before nominating Arnold and Compton. “I am fully ready to step down as chairman of the board.”

About 100 members of the public attended the afternoon hearing, many of whom spoke during public comment and applauded Mecham for his move. They also held signs in the audience supporting Arnold.

After public comment, the board voted 3-2, with Gibson and Hill dissenting, to move Arnold into the chairmanship and Compton into the vice chair position.

In addition to placing women in leadership roles, the restructuring of the board may shift power in the county away from liberals and into the hands of conservatives. Both Arnold and Compton are conservative Republicans, while Gibson and Hill are liberal Democrats.

Mecham is a Republican, but he has often sided with Gibson and Hill on key votes. Recently, some constituents criticized Mecham for his cooperation with Gibson and Hill.

On Jan. 5, Gibson presided over the final meeting of his most recent chairmanship. During the meeting, the board unanimously elected Mecham as chair. With Arnold dissenting, Hill, Gibson, Mecham and Compton voted to make Hill vice-chair, but the board violated California’s open meeting law amid the reorganization.

Prior to the reorganization vote, Gibson did not allow public comment, as required by the Ralph M. Brown Act. Additionally, the meeting agenda did not include public comment, and speaker slips were not available in the board chambers.

Gibson admitted responsibility for the error at a board meeting the following week. But, members of the public suggested that Gibson purposely eliminated public comment in order to place Hill in the vice-chair position without opposition.

The board then voted 3-2, with Gibson and Hill dissenting, to conduct the reorganization process a second time. Mecham said he voted in favor of a redo because he wanted to set a tone of inclusion and transparency.

On Tuesday, Gibson and Hill said respectively that they took offense and were insulted by allegations of gender bias.

“What we’re seeing here is partisanship, not gender bias,” Hill said.

From 2009 to 2012, Gibson and Hill aligned themselves with former Supervisor Jim Patterson to form a board majority. For much of the past two years, they worked with Caren Ray, whom Compton replaced in January.

Compton offered a second to Mecham’s restructuring motion Tuesday. Arnold said it was a tremendous honor to be nominated board chair.



Jorge Estrada

Kudos to Frank for doing the right thing and congrats to his successors at the helm. On my wish list is a shift from wordy speeches to breif updates on work being done and or sheduled to be done. This goes for staff reports too, our budget can’t afford procrastination cloaked as process. To often process is funded because the work money has been frittered away.


it was the biggest waste of time I’ve ever seen at the BOS.


Yes, most agree with you that Mr. Hill being vice-chair was the biggest waste of time at the BOS, I am sure you are glad they fixed that issue yesterday.


Great that we got rid of the 2 egos. Unfortunately we brought in 2 people who will be serving special interest groups. Compton has many people to pay back who gave her hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why do you think they have her all that money? This is her chance to pay them back.

We will soon realize this isn’t such a good thing.


And A. Hill didn’t? Maybe you should revisit his list of campaign contributors. Several of the largest developers in the county.

Give the two of them a chance. Your comments sound like Rush Limbaugh the day after Obama was elected in 2008. Sheesh!


So in your mind we traded pair of egos that have been paying back their special interest groups for years with a different pair that will be doing the same thing? One would say welcome to todays politics, and if so most just complain because they are no longer the group being paid back.

Well, we know for sure Gibson and Hill have been paying back their special interest groups and individuals time and time again and we will have to see if you are right about Arnold and Compton


Point taken. All I meant was to give them a chance.

Extremely Stoic

Castration can be an ugly thing, but Hill will get over it.


The one that was neutered was Frank.

Extremely Stoic

Keep thinking that SF, delusion is also an ugly thing.


Frank chose to be “neutered,” SF. He had his reasons. He’s not as passive or dumb as this group would like to believe. I still think he is a good man who plans ahead. You go Frank!

JB Bronson

Bruce and Adam, welcome to reality.

Kevin Rice

“Gibson and Hill said respectively that they took offense and were insulted by allegations of gender bias.”

… And then they voted against women.

Both are classic misogynist bigots. They like women are long as they stay subservient to the two men in charge. SLO County’s war on women is Gibson and Hill.


You are spot on Kevin.


…And THIS woman didn’t vote for Gibson when tempted with the opportunity.


Oh, get real, Kevin! You know this was about party and not gender. It’s the same ol’ power struggle that has been going on on that board for decades. Paint it as you will in your own equivocating mind. It still is what it is…POLITICS!

Kevin Rice

Of course it’s about gender. Look at the way Bruce treats his leg. aid—a sex toy. And his wife—dirt. He [ab]uses women.


Hey Jd…it’s NOT mere “politics.” Bruce Gibson’s legislative aid was either coerced or found it unavoidable to change her last name (formerly Aispuro; now McKee). Months ago my email to her was soon returned as not deliverable. I phoned the BOS’s secretary and was given her new email address reflecting her mysterious name change. Even the County IT department was unaware (at the time) of her name change. Legislative assistants should never find themselves backed into a corner and see a name change as the only ticket. What a total inexcusable mess. My tax dollars—your tax dollars—so hard at work.


Those two public servents are going to be a problem to deal with for the next couple years,I’m sure they don’t like this set up at all,and to top it all off there is a first year Sup thats the vice chair,hows that for a slap.


Dear Mr. Shoals and Mr. Guerreo- – –

sure hope you were paying attention to the supervisor meeting today.

Please call Mecham for a quick bit of “how to do what’s right”

advice before the sanitation district meeting tomorrow.

Right is right, time for an audit.

Seitz has got to go.

Your constituents are watching and waiting.


Hot diggety damn!. Blow me over with a small puff of air.

What took place today at the county supervisors meeting was about as close to a miracle

that will be seen in SLO for quite some time.

Don’t have a good idea of what Frank is running for, but he just went a long ways at

getting my vote.


As I said…clever man:)) I DO like you, Frank, but these dolts just don’t get it.