Supervisor Bruce Gibson accused of misusing SLO County resources

SLO County Supervisor Bruce Gibson

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Bruce Gibson is holding office hours in Debbie Arnold’s district in a county building after canceling constituent meetings in his own district because of the pandemic. This action spurred allegations Gibson violated rules against using taxpayer resources to support his campaign.

After Gibson lost his battle to keep Atascadero out of District 2, he announced plans to begin holding office hours at the Atascadero public library in an attempt to “learn about what local and countywide issues are important to them.” With his Administrative Assistant Blake Fixler taking notes, on Thursday afternoon Gibson met in a district he will not lead until 2023, if he wins the next election.

Concerned that Gibson could be violating rules regarding a candidate’s use of taxpayer resources, activist Julie Tacker attended the Atascadero office hours.

“Bruce said, ‘I am campaigning and I am running and I need to get to know the people and the issues in Atascadero,’ ” Tacker said.

Government officials cannot use taxpayer resources to support their candidacy, according to the California Attorney General’s Office. Gibson is holding meetings with prospective voters in a county building with a county employee assisting, Tacker said.

State laws allow candidates to meet with prospective voters as long as they do not use public resources such as a county paid employee and a county building.

Tacker plans to file complaints with both the Fair Political Practices Commission and the SLO County District Attorney’s Office.

More than a year ago, Gibson canceled his monthly office hours in Los Osos, Cambria and Cayucos because of the pandemic, according to the county website. Under a notice that the closures in his own district will continue “until further notice,” Gibson announced he is holding office hours at the Atascadero Library on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Gibson did not respond to questions about the alleged misuse of public resources.

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