Mayor Ray Russom reimburses Arroyo Grande for jacket

March 14, 2019

Mayor Caren Ray Russom

In response to activist Julie Tacker exposing an expenditure of public funds to purchase four members of the city council jackets, Mayor Caren Ray Russom has reimbursed the city $40 for her jacket. [Cal Coast Times]

Last year, Arroyo Grande laid off or forced 11 employees into early retirement because of budget issues. Currently, the city is considering laying off four additional employees and cutting parks and recreation services to continue funding its fire department.

Even so, the city manager used city funds to buy four of the council members jackets. Councilman Keith Storton paid $50 for his jacket.

After Tacker exposed the expenditure in an opinion piece, Mayor Caren Ray Russom thanked Tacker for bringing the issue to her attention, and reimbursed the city for the cost of her jacket.

“I am writing to let you know that I have listened to your comment about the jackets purchased for us by the city,” Ray Russom said. “While this kind of purchase is not unprecedented, your point is well taken. I have already reimbursed the city for the cost of mine. I have let the rest of the council know, and I believe they will all follow the lead rightly set by Council Member Storton.”

As a government watchdog, Tacker has identified misappropriation of funds in several cities and community services districts. Her exposures have led to public officials losing their jobs and to the reimbursement of monies wrongly taken from local governments.


This may be the most honest, courageous and selfless act by any politician ever. God bless mayor roscoe p rossum. Most never use their own money again, for anything.


Kind of petty…..


Petty… meet principle.


What a shame that only one of the five “gets it” without having to get caught before doing the right thing. If Storton knew to pay for his jacket the rest of them had that same opportunity. It’s not the money, it’s the point of whole thing. Laying off people while your city manager is shopping for jackets? Maybe he needs to go if he’s got nothing more pressing on his plate.


It’s not so much the amount nor the individuals and It’s definitely nothing new. It’s the systemic problem of elected office even a small town America. There seems to be a need to put their names on everything (like a sign on a new building project, a new library, dare I say a jacket or lunch receipt. However long the list is of public official errs…the fact is we elect them. We listen to ridiculous campaign statements wanting to believe they’re true because we’re either too busy to find out otherwise or they either have a D or an R in front of their names. Then when it’s the same ‘ol thing only nuttier, we wonder why. Insanity is…..

I’m not familiar with the AG council or the city events but to her credit, she at least heard the voices and ultimately did the right thing.

justice counts

It was just a week or so ago that the city conducted an Ethics Class for all to attend!

How did that go? Did everyone pass?


It is past time for Caren Ray Rossum to begin acting like a competent public servant, but I wonder if it is too late for her to redeem her credibility, considering that, in the last year, Caren Ray Rossum has accepted money from drug dealers to finance her campaign for AG mayor and her close friend and confidante, Patty Welsh, pled guilty to a felony after helping Caren Ray Rossum remove campaign signs and damage private and public property.

Caren Ray Rossem did not tell the Arroyo Grande Police Department Patty Welsh’s name, even though she had to have known Ms. Welsh’s vehicle as identified in the pictures and video. This type of concealment is unworthy of a leader, and our citizens should hold tolerate such ethical lapses. Worse, Caren Ray Rossum has not made any statement on this continuing controversy, and she has also failed to explain taking money from the drug dealers.

It is Mayor Ray Rossum’s responsibility to address these situations, taxpayers deserve better.


This is just politics in SLO again. All city employees have city clothing. The money that was spent was negligible as the city probably wastes that much money every day within 5 minutes of opening their doors. The easy way out was to pay for the jackets. Every city provides these items, even when in the red. I’m not supporting these crooks but there are a lot of bigger things in Arroyo Grande to go after besides $40 jackets.

justice counts

We believe kayaknut addresses this correctly.

My biggest concern is the city manager thought this was the right way to spend taxpayers money in the first place. It shows his complete lack understanding of financial issues and how regular folks actually live.


I fully agree with everyone about spending the money this way. It’s just an example of no respect for the funds collected from the taxpayers which they consider “free money.” I point was that the purchase of these jackets were just a small pimple on a much bigger problem.

justice counts

Good work Julie…

On that financial note and concern:

Why is the City of Arroyo Grande, Mayor, CDD and City Manager not following up on non-permitted construction without any City oversight (building and safety issues abound) when City permittance would make building safety a key (the priority) for all Arroyo Grande residents and permit dollars would help the “in the red finances” the City is in?

Didn’t we read in CCN that only one-third of permits are being collected (after an audit was performed)? Does the Building Director not have gas money to look at these sites or interest to inspect for building and safety and compliance with Municipal codes?

When alerted about non-permitted, illegal construction in setbacks, the City seems to favor some property owners over others (refuse to inspect and apply City Municipal Codes) and this construction is passed on to unsuspecting buyers and their contiguous neighbors degrading property values.

This must be true: The County Assessor has taken multiple actions when the City seems to turn a blind eye.

Are we asking too much of the City to follow their own Municipal Codes!

Who is in charge of this decision making and are they mismanaging the City Finances and asking rate payers to make up the difference?

Justice Counts


My biggest concern is the city manager thought this was the right way to spend taxpayers money in the first place. It shows his complete lack understanding of financial issues and how regular folks actually live.


So did the city manager mark up Kieth Stortons jacket and make $10 bucks on it or did mayor Caren chisel the price down to$40 or is Kieth just a sucker? Did Caren and the city manager split the $10? This still does not add up. Truth or bs……..Depends