The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisor voted 4-0 Tuesday to bring back options for curtailing Supervisor Adam Hill’s threats and abuses against constituents. Hill was absent from the meeting.
Specifically, the board is looking to develop a code of conduct, through a governance manual, that will define rules for appropriate behavior. Several California counties have governance manuals that promote respect and encourage public officials to refrain from commenting on public issues or interacting with each other on social media.
The board’s action was spurred by several public speakers who accused Hill of making threats, bullying and causing harm.
Pismo Beach Real Estate broker Mark Burnes told the board of an “ugly situation” in which Hill responded to a Sunday commentary in the Tribune by telling Burnes to “fuck off.”
“I am keenly aware of the high standards public officials need to adhere too,” Burnes said. “Short of an all out recall election, is there a manner of which an errant member of this board might be removed?”
Another public speaker, Jack Hardy of Grover Beach, said the same thing that had happened to Burnes had happened to him. Hill had responded to a Facebook post of Hardy’s he did not like by dubbing Hardy a racist.
“If you go out into the community, there have been many threats like this,” Hardy said. “There are people who are afraid to speak up. It is just not right. I am asking you what can be done to stop this.”
Julie Tizzano, the owner of SLOCO Data & Printing in Grover Beach, said that after she supported Hill’s opponent in a race, Hill retaliated. Hill threatened to withhold county funding to the Food Bank if the nonprofit did not stop doing business with Tizzano’s company. The Food Bank complied and Tizzano’s printing company lost $50,000 a year in revenue, Tizzano said.
In rare cases, government entities have sanctioned public officials who violate codes of conduct rules with sanctions such as taking away their parking space or government office space.