SLO County Supervisor Bruce Gibson violated the Brown Act

April 26, 2023

Supervisor Bruce Gibson


San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson violated the Brown Act when he discussed an item not on the agenda which did not provide an opportunity for public participation, the SLO County District Attorney’s Office concluded last month.

During a Feb. 28 receive and file discussion on the budget, Gibson went off topic and made a motion for a new $14,167 expenditure. Supervisor Debbie Arnold then argued the board needed to agendize the item so that the public could have a chance to participate.

Though County Counsel Rita Neal was sitting with the board, she made no comment regarding Arnold’s request to place the item on the agenda.

Gibson rejected Arnold’s request and demanded a vote on his motion. The board then voted 4-1 approving Gibson’s motion with Arnold dissenting.

Concerned that Gibson appears to regularly violate the Brown Act, on March 7, Creston resident Greg Grewal sent a cease and desist letter to the county regarding Gibson’s Feb. 28 motion.

County Counsel Neal rejected Grewal’s request in a response she also sent to SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow.

“The motion did not violate the Brown Act as the item and the ability for the board to provide staff with direction was clearly agendized and there was an opportunity for public comment,” Neal said. “Because there was no Brown Act violation, no corrective action is needed.”

Deputy District Attorney Ken Jorgensen did not agree with Neal and found that the board entered into and voted on an item “that did not appear on the agenda,” according to a March 26 letter from Jorgensen to Neal.

Jorgensen then ordered Neal and the Board of Supervisors to start complying with the Brown Act and “refrain from discussions of items not on the board’s agenda.”

The Ralph M. Brown Act was passed in 1953 because of mounting concerns that government bodies were avoiding scrutiny by meeting secretly. The act, which has been amended and strengthened in the years since, guarantees the public the right to attend and participate in meetings of legislative bodies, to have forewarning of discussion items through posted agendas, and forbids a majority of board members from discussing government issues in private.

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Classic hypocritical double standard by Gibson. “There are rules for you and…there are rules for me. Besides, what are you going to do about it?”

Phony, shallow fraud of a man.

Disagreements about what constitutes a brown act violation are common throughout California. And increasingly common are people who try to make a mountain out of a mole hill to gain political points from people who have no real understanding of what they are talking about, especially when it comes the nuances of the brown act.

There’s no chance in heaven, or hell that there could be a successful recall based on this highly charged political accusation.