Another County Employee in Trouble

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

December 4, 2023

It’s head honcho quit, then his temporary replacement tried to quit but was then fired, and now another SLO County employee is in hot water after being suspected of using taxpayer money on himself or herself.

According to a news release from Jim Hamilton, SLO County Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector, on Nov. 13 the District Attorney’s Office served a search warrant on the employee’s home and office at the County Government Center after an internal investigation gave them probable cause for a warrant.

“This came,” the news release said, “following an internal County-initiated investigation focused on the potential misuse of County funds for personal purchases. Evidence discovered during the internal investigation was provided to law enforcement leading to the search warrant served.”

That same day the employee was placed on paid administrative leave, Hamilton’s release said. 

They have not released the employee’s name nor any other distinguishing information.

“The County,” Hamilton’s release said, “is not naming the employee due to the confidentiality restraints of on-going internal and external criminal investigations. Those investigations will assess the extent of any criminal wrongdoing and appropriate personnel actions.”

If the person is charged the D.A.’s Office will likely have to release the person’s identity, as it would be included in the court filings.

Meanwhile, the Tribune, citing an unnamed County spokesperson, reported that the person worked in the IT Department (Information Technologies).

The County reportedly started its investigation several weeks ago and the employee “works in a mid-level position in the department, according to the spokesperson,” the Tribune reported.

D.A. investigators will continue their investigation and the internal investigation will go on as well, as the County seeks to uncover the extent of the potential crimes.

The announcement came just a few days before the County’s employment relationship with an interim administrative officer fell apart and he resigned amidst an investigation into claims of “improper conduct toward women in violation of the County’s policy against discrimination and harassment,” according to a news release from the County Counsel’s Office.

Interim CAO, John Nilon, was officially “fired” a day later in closed session after County Supervisors got the results of the internal investigation. 

Though he resigned first, he was let go rather than paid to work for another 30 days after tendering his resignation, as per Nilon’s contract. 

The IT employee reportedly works in a mid-level position in the IT Department, according to The Tribune. The nature of the alleged theft — how much and how was it done? — have not been disclosed.

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