Nilon was hired in May with a three-month contract; Assistant CAO Campbell to take over interim position
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors has terminated the contract of interim County Administrative Officer (CAO) John Nilon following an investigation into allegations of improper conduct toward women. The decision, made in a closed-session meeting, was effective immediately.
Nilon, who has been serving as the interim CAO since May 1, faced accusations of violating the county’s policy against discrimination and harassment. The termination decision was based on a zero-tolerance approach towards policy violations, as emphasized by District 1 Supervisor John Peschong.
“Our policy is clear and adherence to it is mandatory by all employees. The county has a zero-tolerance policy for any violations,” Peschong stated. “The county is committed to providing a work environment where everyone is treated with respect and professionalism. We expect all employees to adhere to the policy and expect our CAO to exhibit the best judgment when dealing with employees in the workplace.”
The termination was announced on Nov. 17 following a closed-session meeting that was was convened to address charges or complaints against Nilon and to determine whether disciplinary action was warranted. Peschong, in a letter to Nilon, explained that the decision to terminate was made after thorough consideration of all presented information.
In response, Nilon released a statement, claiming to have submitted his resignation on Wednesday and dismissing the board’s decision as a “political stunt.” He asserted that no written allegations of misconduct were ever presented to him.
Nilon, with 32 years of service to Kern County, where he served as the CAO for eight years until his retirement in February 2017, had a three-month contract with San Luis Obispo County. The termination comes amid a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
Assistant County Administrative Officer Rebecca Campbell will assume the role of acting CAO until a permanent replacement is selected. The termination of Nilon is emphasized as unrelated to an ongoing investigation involving a mid-level employee from the county’s IT department. The employee in question was placed on leave earlier in the week after search warrants were executed at their home and office, part of an internal county-initiated investigation focused on the potential misuse of county funds for personal purchases.