San Luis Obispo to reinstate Ryan Mason

June 6, 2013
John Ryan Mason

John Ryan Mason

UPDATE: Councilman Dan Carpenter’s statement on this issue is at the bottom of this article.

San Luis Obispo officials have agreed to reinstate embattled firefighter John Ryan Mason.

The decision was made by Fire Chief Charlie Hines with the support of Christine Dietrick, the city attorney. Hines noted that Mason has an exemplary record as a firefighter and feels that he can work with him. Last night, Mason left city hall carrying two uniforms.

The fire chief fired Mason in November, shortly after he escaped a felony assault conviction for his role in a bar bathroom brawl.

Mason, a fire engineer and paramedic, faced charges of felony assault with great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury following his alleged beating of Jory Brigham in the bathroom of Pappy McGregor’s Bar & Grill after a wedding. Mason’s trial concluded with a hung jury leaning eight to four in his favor, and the District Attorney’s Office chose not to retry the case.

The fire department placed Mason on unpaid administrative leave in April. A few months later, City Manager Katie Lichtig named him as a nominee for city employee of the year.

Nevertheless, several members of the city council told CalCoastNews that Mason’s behavioral pattern did not match the ethical code of a San Luis Obispo firefighter and that they were in favor of his termination. The fire department’s code of ethics mandates that firefighters “accept this responsibility of public trust both on and off duty.”

The city council does not have jurisdiction on this issue.

Councilman Dan Carpenter issued a statement voicing his disapproval of Hines’ decision to rehire Mason.

“I’m extremely saddened and disappointed with the decision of our Fire Chief and top management to reinstate firefighter Ryan Mason,” Carpenter said. “Traditionally, the city has held its public safety employees to the highest level of integrity and trust. Today, that tradition has been compromised by rewarding conduct unbecoming of a firefighter. My heart and compassion go out to Mr. Brigham and his family as they continue to heal from this tragedy.”



slo Fact Finder

Thisform of behavior would not be tolerated in the real world !!!


You mean the responsible world….


Why would anyone be surprised by this revelation? Dietrick, Irons and Kitchig reinstated Mason, likely with full back pay and likely to pay for all his legal cost in securing his former position back at the City.

Let’s recall what has appeared in, the Tribune and New Times during the past couple of years. Two officers get busted for importing controlled substances across the U.S. border. Both are put on leave with pay, then fired and now the one hired bright attorneys who won (“Arbitrator has ordered the reinstatement of the officer “) and the officer will get his job back with back pay and likely paid for attorney fees. The commentary on the Legal Defense team’s website is priceless. The most poignant comment is that “the City’s reprehensible tactics did not stop there.” Read the post by msminiver for details.

The other article that comes to mind is the article about the Public Works Inspector, Ronald Faria for misappropriating City assets for personal gain which is a Felony considering the dollar amount. Fast forward a year later, then reveals that the City rather than imposing discipline on the PERP rewarded him with over $20,000 in overtime. Could it b hush money to keep his mouth shut on what other misdeeds are being perpetrated at the city.

Then there was the article about the gal in Police, Christine Wallace who went postal on fellow employees on her facebook account and told them to “Go F…. themselves” because she was called on the spot for violating coworkers religious beliefs. Based on the article Ms. Wallace had a well-documented history of anger management issues at the City. Fast forward a few months later and she was promoted. So, the City again rewards dubious behavior.

Then there was the article on that Utilities Supervisor, Bud Nance who ordered his staff to intentionally dump hazardous waste at the back of the City’s Yard. Dietrick was quoted as that was an appropriate procedure and then months later revealed that staff would likely be prosecuted. So, Dietrick again missed the mark again – didn’t know the law or blatantly lied to protect staff. I wonder how much overtime Bud’s staff got paid, or how he was rewarded for his dubious behavior?

Lately, there was the article about Officer Corey Pierce who was arrested by the FBI for extortion and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. So, is this Officer still on the payroll and when will Dietrick, Irons and Litchig reinstate him.

Oh, that is right there is that other employee in Utilities, Robert Nicholson who was called out for apparently charging unsuspecting residents for the same services he is paid to perform by the City for no charge. Another employee engaged in questionable conduct, maybe he will be the next Utilities Director?

So the point is something is wrong at the City, not just with staff but with that management team – Litchig, Irons and Dietrick and obviously council. Maybe the City’s new uniforms should be overalls in bright orange – prison style?


While I can and do agree with almost everything you wrote, I would like to caution everyone at holding the entire city council to blame here. Dan Carpenter, as much as I normally don’t care for him, has stepped up in this situation. I would like to think that there might even be one or two more who find this episode as distasteful as almost everyone here seems to think it is. I would really like to see or hear reactions from the two remaining, viable candidates concerning this rehiring of Mason.


I would agree. Carpenter is the only democrat on the council worth a damn!


The city council doesn’t care about the citizens of SLO.

The city attorney doesn’t care about the citizens of SLO.

The city manager doesn’t care (or even live here) about the citizens of SLO.



HarryMalone says:”The city manager doesn’t care (or even live here) about the citizens of SLO.”

The word is she bought a house here, recently. Where is not important, but it is in the city of slo.


Mason beat a guy into a pulp and there are pictures to prove it. A jury didn’t convict him but he got fired anyway, then re-hired by SLO City.

Don’t get me wrong, the guy’s a ticking time-bomb and should’ve NEVER been re-hired but I’m wondering: judging from how his case was handled, what would prevent Paso’s former top cop Lisa Solomon Chitty from ALSO getting re-hired in some capacity?

Disgraced ex-police chief LIsa was accused of groping the private parts of numerous subordinates yet her case hasn’t come to trial yet. She “resigned” plus got a huge settlement ($250K+) in addition to her pension.

So, tying these cases together, if SLO city is willing to give Mason HIS job back, I’m wondering if/when Paso city government hires HER back, too. Seems like in the public sector, the worse you do, you more $$ you can make.


Very interesting point PP5.

Not entirely out of the realm of impossibility given that APP is still at the helm.


So, if you wonder why Mason got his job back – read this clip from the website noted below. In short, the utter incompetence of City of San Luis Obispo Management is the problem – “the City’s reprehensible tactics did not stop there.”


Please refrain from pasting large article length from other websites. a short excerpt + link please.


Chief Hines…..Finally, the public is seeing what a piece of **** you are. All the bad decisions you have made since you have been here, all the people you have screwed over, all the lies you have told….I think it is finally time you go back to Yakima. See ya.


Isn’t Hines a “double dipper” as he is drawing a pension from 30 years of prior employment.


Psychopathy runs in Hines’ family…..his nephew who was a fire captain paramedic in Long Beach, was convicted of driving drunk, running over a guy on a bicycle and fleeing the scene with blood on his windshield. His blood alcohol level was 3 times the legal limit. He was sent to jail then was busted for making alcohol from hand sanitizer. Hines himself supposedly beat a homeless man with a phone book once when he worked at Long Beach FD because he didn’t want the guy hanging around the firehouse. Apparently the phone book doesn’t leave marks….


Let me assure you that if Mr. Mason was reinstated to his rank and position he was also given full back pay. This cost the City big bucks and will continue to cost the City as I am sure there are some decent City employees that do not want to work with manic, crazy, alcoholic fireman. What a shame for the taxpayers in San Luis Obispo and the citizens who have to deal with him when he respond to our emergencies.

Kevin Rice

Back pay??? Likely has been on Administrative Leave (paid vacation) the whole time.


Kevin, c’mon, you’re supposed to be a ff right? You know he wasn’t on paid admin leave this whole time and you know how this works, the city is only telling the public the version they want the public to believe. You know better than that.


The article above stated he was “fired” in November. It also stated he was placed on “unpaid administrative leave” in April. Anyway, the way government operates, I am sure he is going to get full reimbursement for pay, benefits and time off (means he will receive back leave for his vacation and sick leave that he was denied to earn since he was terminated). Rewards for bad behavior only in government. No private employer would ever tolerate this type of behavior.

Jorge Estrada

Maybe we can have public floggings too and Ryan can be our City Floggerro. And why are cock fights are illegal?