CAPSLO criticizes Adam Hill for comments about homeless program

acornejo@thetribunenews.comMarch 24, 2014 

UPDATE: Supervisor Adam Hill apologizes for criticizing CAPSLO on homeless issues »

The board of directors for Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County has criticized county Supervisor Adam Hill for scathing statements he made last week about the nonprofit organization’s recent restructuring of its homeless services program.

Moreover, “We believe his recent comments, e-mails and texts reflect a personal conflict of interest inappropriate for an elected official of our county,” wrote CAPSLO board president Frances Coughlin in a letter addressed to Supervisor Bruce Gibson, who chairs the county board.

Hill is engaged to Dee Torres, one of three employees demoted by CAPSLO as part of the restructuring. Torres, who had long served as a division director of homeless services, is now a manager.

Torres and two other managers were demoted in staffing changes made by CAPSLO management who say the restructuring was the result of an ongoing deficit in funding for San Luis Obispo’s two shelters: the Prado Day Center and the Maxine Lewis Memorial Homeless Shelter.

Hill has recused himself from voting on issues on the county board that pertain to county homeless services because of his relationship with Torres.

It was unclear Monday if Hill had violated any rules regarding a possible conflict of interest by making the statement.

“I am deeply troubled by the situation,” Gibson told The Tribune. “I’m particularly troubled by the tone of the statement that Adam (Hill) provided to CAPSLO.”

Gibson said he was meeting with county staff Monday afternoon to discuss the situation.

At a routine monthly Homeless Advisory Committee meeting on March 18, Hill asked his legislative assistant Hannah Miller to read his prepared statement criticizing the restructuring and the ability of CAPSLO to provide homeless services.

In that statement, Hill said he no longer had confidence in CAPSLO’s senior management, including the agency’s chief executive officer, Biz Steinberg.

“Recent actions taken by CAPSLO senior management have been so obnoxious and counterproductive that I must state firmly that I have lost all confidence in the leadership of Biz Steinberg, Jim Famalette and Grace McIntosh,” Hill wrote in the statement. “It is clear that these three individuals care more about themselves and the perception of their agency than they do about homeless person (sic), the community and certainly their employees.”

The CAPSLO letter, sent Friday, defends Steinberg’s reputation and asks that Hill “discontinue his aggressive campaign of misinformation to influence other elected officials in an effort to discredit Community Action Partnership’s re-organization of its Homeless Services Division.”

On Monday, Hill told The Tribune that he stood by his statement.

“It is really about homeless services and why people who are responsible for making decisions about things are not addressing the key issues we have heard for years now,” Hill said. “I just want to see a constructive discussion about homeless services going forward, particularly about some of the very serious and real safety issues that exist at both sites.”

Gibson said the Board of Supervisors remains committed to providing services to the homeless who need them.

“This just seems to be a very unfortunate step backward in getting homeless services improved here,” Gibson said.

Read the letter

Here's the letter Frances Coughlin, CAPSLO's board president, sent to Supervisor Bruce Gibson.

Letter to Bruce Gibson from CAPSLO

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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