Is Dee Torres on leave from CAPSLO by her own choosing?
May 14, 2014
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The embattled former director of the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s (CAPSLO) homeless services program is currently on leave from her job with the nonprofit, but it is unclear whether she is skipping work on her own accord.
Last week, CAPSLO Deputy Director Grace McIntosh, who now supervises Torres, told the Tribune that Torres has been on paid administrative leave since her recent demotion. In March, CAPSLO CEO Biz Steinberg demoted Torres and cut her pay as part of a reorganization of CAPSLO’s homeless services division.
McIntosh told CalCoastNews Tuesday that the Tribune accurately reported CAPSLO placing Torres on paid administrative leave.
“Yes, that’s true,” McIntosh said.
Later Tuesday, though, CAPSLO Chief Operating Officer Jim Famalette said in an email to CalCoastNews that Torres is on a leave of absence, not on administrative leave.
“Dee Torres is currently on leave of absence from work,” Famalette wrote. “It is not paid administrative leave. That was an incorrect statement.”
On Wednesday morning, Famalette said McIntosh had contacted the Tribune to clarify her statement.
Famalette would not disclose why Torres is on leave. He did not say either how long she has been on leave and when she is expected to return.
Numerous former employees of CAPSLO have said that Torres made personal use of gift cards and other items donated for the homeless. Last year, CAPSLO exonerated Torres of all wrongdoing, including gift card theft.
But, in March, Steinberg demoted Torres from homeless services director to shelter services director. Torres no longer oversees CAPSLO’s case management system, which handles homeless clients’ money.
Following the reorganization, Torres must now report to McIntosh, instead of to Steinberg. Torres also took an approximately 20 percent cut in pay.
After Steinberg demoted her, Torres wrote an email to employees in which she criticized CAPSLO management.
“They gave me a big speech (one they’ve been giving me for 15 years) about my number one priority and allegiance needs to be to the ‘agency,’ Torres wrote. “I said it was to the clients, volunteers, staff, donors and programs.”
Torres also stated in the email that she kind of knew management was unhappy with her.
A week later, Torres’s fiancé County Supervisor Adam Hill attacked CAPSLO management in a speech he wrote and ordered his legislative aide to deliver. Hill’s speech called Steinberg, Famalette and McIntosh “obnoxious and counterproductive” and warned that their egos would cause problems in the community.
CAPSLO responded with a letter to board of supervisors chairman Bruce Gibson saying Hill was running a misinformation campaign geared toward influencing public officials.
Currently, CAPSLO is in escrow on a Prado Road property that it is purchasing in order to build a new homeless services center. The nonprofit is also trying to secure several million dollars in funding necessary to construct the center.
CAPSLO may likewise be positioning itself to receive government funding to operate a drug detox center in San Luis Obispo. The organization announced last week that it would no longer serve homeless individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol but that it would be interested in operating a detox facility.