SLO County supervisors argue over committee assignments
January 24, 2017
By KAREN VELIE
During a contentious San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, supervisors battled for several prominent positions while leaving several committees without county representation.
Of the 22 available committee positions, multiple supervisors applied to represent the county on the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and the Economic Vitality Commission (EVC). At the same time, no one applied for four less influential committees.
Supervisor Bruce Gibson, who has represented the county on CSAC for eight years, and Supervisor John Peschong applied for CSAC, while Supervisor Adam Hill and Supervisor Lynn Compton sought the CSAC alternate position.
During a heated debate, Hill said that Gibson was the only supervisor with the ability and experience to attend CSAC meetings. Not voting for Gibson was a “petty political trophy” for the Republican board majority, Hill said.
Supervisor Debbie Arnold thanked Gibson for his eight years of service, but said she would be voting for Peschong represent the county on the committee that lobbies at the state level regarding policy decisions.
“I do not believe that if you’re not on CSAC we will lose our voice,” Arnold said. “I chose Peschong and his policies to represent the board at CSAC.”
Gibson asked Peschong, who Gibson claimed was unqualified for CSAC, to consider other committee appointments and let him have CSAC.
The board then voted 3-2 to have Peschong represent the county on CSAC and to have Compton serve as the alternate, with Hill and Gibson dissenting.
After losing the vote, Gibson and Hill claimed that Peschong, Arnold and Compton are controlled by developers who have donated to their campaigns and the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business, a claim they repeat regularly when they are on the losing side of a vote. Nevertheless, Hill has garnered more money in the past five years from developers than any other county supervisor.
The pattern continued with the board voting 3-2 to have Compton and Peschong represent the board on the EVC and 3-2 to appoint Arnold and Compton to LAFCO. In both cases, Hill and Gibson dissented.
Near the end of the meeting, County Counsel Rita Neal reminded the board that there were four committees that no one had applied for which included the Adult Services Policy Council, Behavioral Health Advisory Board, the Cal Poly Campus Planning Commission and the Cal ID Advisory Board.
Arnold then agreed to sit on both the Behavioral Health Advisory Board and the Cal Poly Campus Planning Commission. She then asked Gibson if he would agree to sit on the remaining two committees. Gibson did not respond.