SLO County Administrative Officer Wade Horton resigns

March 21, 2023

SLO County Administrator Wade Horton


San Luis Obispo County Administrative Officer Wade Horton resigned amid an evaluation request, County Counsel Rita Neal announced following a Board of Supervisor closed session on Tuesday. Horton agreed to lead the county until May 1.

A member of the new majority on the SLO County Board of Supervisors called for a performance review of Horton several weeks ago. County officials are not disclosing which of three county supervisors – Bruce Gibson, Jimmy Paulding or Dawn Ortiz Legg – requested the review.

Under Government Code 54957, during the evaluation the supervisors had the option to discipline or dismiss Horton.

While the board agenda refers to an “annual performance evaluation” of Horton, this was the first performance review scheduled since he was appointed as head of the county in 2017.

During Tuesday’s closed session, the board accepted Horton’s resignation in a 5-0 vote.

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He’s probably fleeing California like all the other upwardly mobile, leaving us poor folks left behind like the Rapture.

If not, hey, Morro Bay is looking for a city manager, pay’s not too bad, $200,000+ a year plus great benefits, just saying.

Bob Hendrix left the County (after 15 years as CAO) and landed in Morro Bay for another 6-7 years then retired, so there’s precedent. And Morro Bay isn’t in too bad of shape budget-wise. It’d be a heck of a lot easier to run than the County.

A longtime government official told me when he was quitting his job, “When they stop listening to you, it’s time to go.”

I think it’s safe to assume something like this is why this Horton heard his Who…

Rita Neal needs to be next. Let’s see if Gibson has the guts to end her incompetent reign. Doubtful.

Is it true the new majority is considering ringing Paavo Ogren back to the County to fill this position?

That is beyond disgusting. Paavo needs to relax, go hiking, find some friends and stay out of SLO politics!

Trevor Keith. You are next.

Are you sure it wasn’t Wade’s known proclivities that caused him to exit rather than being outed. Look at the history of this guy’s career. He had staff at the City of San Luis Obispo directly under him embezzling City assets for personal gain, staff dumping toxic waste that all knew about and he did nothing. Not a single employee was held accountable, simply because it reflected what a hear no, see no and speak no evil manager he was. Then at the County with just what has been revealed in Calcoast is known to the general public. His solution to staff complaints and misconduct, simply give employees bonuses in violation of state and federal law. Then simply give continuous raises to everyone over and over again. Talk about fiscal irresponsibility and you have Wade. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Neighbor is one of the handful of people allowed in closed sessions. This time this person recorded it.

This person said Bruce Gibson led the charge because Wade was putting up objections and warning the supervisors on legality of what the progressive supervisors want to do.

Wade also had proof of Gibson doing cocaine with Hill but the way Wade found out he couldn’t speak up otherwise he would be sued, as a county employee or not.

The first part of this is definitely plausible. Gibson now fancies himself the new Emperor of SLO County, and not the good kind of Emperor – more like the Star Wars kind. With his two new sycophants backing him up, he doesn’t want anyone telling him what he can and can’t do.

Of course, in this case, what he’s done is give Wade a cause of action for a multi-million dollar lawsuit against not just the county, but the three leftist Supervisors, also. Maybe Horton will win their houses in the settlement, and those three can join the growing throngs of homeless in the County.

It’s clear that the new BOS majority will take SLO County down the path of fiscal irresponsibility. Good time for Wade to get out.

I am very curious why Wade threw in the towel, his honest written opinion piece for Cal Coast News would be greatly appreciated. His resignation is at a vulnerable time for this county and my knee jerk opinion would be that he remain and battle with misguidance that have may have been mandated by the Board. Getting fired for doing the right thing would have better served the county, his resignation doesn’t serve the public or his resume. What’s up, Officer Horton?

He’s a smart guy. I’m sure he realizes that the new board majority is going to destroy SLO County, and he doesn’t want to be standing on the bridge of the Titanic while they drive it into the iceberg.