Barstow Hires Embattled Political Figure Anthony Riley As Spokesman

(July 20) BARSTOW—Controversial political figure Anthony Riley has been hired as the city of Barstow’s official public spokesman.
The Barstow city council agreed to provide Riley with a $58,200 annual contract to field questions from the press, generate press releases and facilitate the provision of information to inquiring citizens. The contract does not specify the hours he is to work or set a requirement for his being in place at City Hall.
Riley, an Oak Hills resident and member of the Hesperia School Board, was an employee of Passantino Andersen Communications and most recently held the position of spokesman for Brad Mitzelfelt’s just concluded unsuccessful campaign for Congress.
In 2010, Riley was an unsuccessful candidate himself for the Republican nomination in the 59th Assembly District.
Riley will be called upon to help Barstow put its best foot forward, a role that was previously filled by spokesman John Rader. Riley has been at the center or fringe of negative publicity in the past. An associate of former county supervisor/assessor Bill Postmus who joined Postmus on the Republican Central Committee, Riley was alleged to have been a recipient of political patronage at Postmus’ behest when he was hired into a position within the county’s economic development department. Riley departed from that post after Postmus was overtaken by scandal which led to his indictment and conviction on political corruption charges. Anthony came in for a further round of negative press when, after the Adelanto Charter Academy lost its charter in 2011 because of operational and financial irregularities, it was revealed that Riley was paid $6,500 on January 15, 2010, ostensibly to facilitate the charter school’s contact with Ron Griffith, director of preschool services for the county, and to assure that 20 to 30 kindergarten students would be enrolled at the academy. It was widely circulated that Riley had done nothing in exchange for the money.
Simply in taking up the assignment with the city, Riley generated controversy. He resides 41 miles from Barstow, well outside the geographical sphere in a proposed residency requirement for city officials discussed by the city council at its June 18 meeting. There is a requirement that critical city officials live within 15 miles of City Hall.
An effort to reach Riley at Barstow City Hall Wednesday was unsuccessful.
Riley’s contract provides a commitment that he remain in place for one year and the contract can be extended based upon a decision to fund the post in future budgets.

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