County administrator's job on the line



The top two SLO County administrators are in absentia and for now no one will say why. But whatever’s involved the top adminstrator’s job is at stake.

County Administrator David Edge was placed on paid administrative leave last week. His understudy, Deputy Administrator Gail Wilcox, was also placed on paid leave just days later. Neither could be reached for comment.

SLO County Board of Supervisors will consider whether to terminate Edge’s contract at a hearing on May 19.

County supervisors met in closed session for several hours on May 8 to discuss “anticipated litigation” and “significant exposure to litigation.” They met again on May 11 for most of the day, but reported no reportable action. Wilcox was placed on leave that day. Edge was placed on leave the day before the first closed session.

Board of Supervisors Chair Bruce Gibson said Edge and Wilcox are the only two county employees currently on administrative leave, to his knowledge. For now, Gibson is the sole county voice on the issue. The county administrator is the head county official but answers to the Board of Supervisors. While Edge and Wilcox are gone, Gibson has stepped in to lead the Administrative Office.

Gibson had little to say on the issue and other county employees said even less. “This is obviously a difficult situation, but I’m confident that we’ll get county government taken care of here.” Several county employees simply referred questions back to Gibson.

Although Edge and Wilcox are public employees, state law allows personnel matters to be largely hidden from public scrutiny. And local officials aren’t saying more than they have to. Gibson declined to answer specific questions citing a personnel issue. He did not say when or if Edge and/or Wilcox will return to their posts.

“We’ll tell you what we can when we can,” Gibson said. “We’re not trying to be opaque here, it’s just within the rules.”

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