Adam Hill: SLO County administrator forced out by ‘toxic’ majority on Board of Supervisors

From left, supervisors Lynn Compton, Adam Hill and Debbie Arnold.
From left, supervisors Lynn Compton, Adam Hill and Debbie Arnold.

I was saddened to learn the news of San Luis Obispo County Administrator Dan Buckshi’s departure. This is very bad news for our county government and for the community as a whole. Dan is widely admired by local leaders in the business community, the nonprofit community, the cities, Cal Poly and our schools.

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Dan was subject to too many months of hostile, disrespectful treatment by Supervisors Lynn Compton and Debbie Arnold, which was abetted by Supervisor John Peschong. Dan leaves with full knowledge that his fine work on the county budget, his involvement in economic development, his strong negotiations with PG&E about Diablo Canyon’s closure on behalf of the community and his extraordinary leadership on emergency preparedness have made us all stronger and safer.

Dan Buckshi Courtesy photo

It is not surprising that someone as accomplished as Dan would easily find another job. But there’s no way to deodorize what put this in motion: the repeated questioning of his integrity by two supervisors and their loyal third vote, all three of whom seem intent on wrecking local government by turning it into an operation of political patronage.

It is challenging for an administrator to keep demanding the best from 2,600 employees when three elected officials refuse to embrace good governance, routinely seek to undermine him and other highly skilled department heads, and think being in the majority entitles them to do whatever they want, even when it runs counter to what’s best for all residents of the county.

Dan helped construct and ultimately oversaw the county’s “pain plan,” which got us through the recession with not one layoff, with the highest bond rating in county history, and with pay and pension reform operating well.

That’s why we have been able to meet our public safety priorities.

That’s why we have taken on new capital projects like the airport, a new animal shelter and new jail and juvenile facilities.

That’s why county tax rates are lower than those in our cities.

That’s why everyone in our community should be very concerned about his loss, and even more so about the toxic behavior and irregular actions of the board’s majority.

Adam Hill represents District 3 on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.