Is Dee Torres on leave from CAPSLO by her own choosing?

May 14, 2014

Dee TorresBy 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.


46 Comments

  1. wineguyjc says:

    Is she on paid administrative leave? Or is she having a breakdown and then will claim that she is disabled and we will all support her for the rest of her life?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 6

  2. Pelican1 says:

    The Medallion booth will located at the top of Higuera.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

  3. shelworth says:

    I’d take a 20% cut in pay if I could just stay home and play with my dogs all day!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 4

    • kayaknut says:

      How about all those in government that get to stay home and collect +100% pay sometimes at 50, even better.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 32 Thumb down 20

      • SLOTECH90 says:

        Quit yammering about it, and go get this wonderful govt. job, if you think you could handle it.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 22

  4. JB Bronson says:

    In addition, there is a big difference between “out on administrative leave” and out on “leave of absence”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 3

  5. JB Bronson says:

    To miles archer:

    Of course this is news, on many fronts.

    For one, she has been on leave for so long, makes you wonder if the position she isn’t showing up for is needed, or,

    if being done by somebody else, then how do we reconcile comments she has made that only CAPSLO, with her at the helm of her former position, are the only ones around here who know how to deal with the homeless?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 35 Thumb down 3

    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      It could be that the people below her in the chain of command are taking care of business under McIntyre’s direction. CAPSLO may or may not be the best organization in THIS community for the challenge of taking care of the homeless (I think that it is but I could be wrong), but Torres isn’t and wasn’t responsible for doing everything by herself.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

      • MaryMalone says:

        Torres was/is responsible for implementing direction as from her superiors via her own actions and the actions of the staff and volunteers under her direction.

        So from Torres on down, what happened in homeless services that was under her direction was what Torres is accountable for.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  6. fishing village says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 50

    • kayaknut says:

      What do you think some people wanted from Ms. Torres? as did they want this before or after she started stealing from homeless people, and selling them razors, shampoo, and other donated items?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 37 Thumb down 8

    • gardenslo says:

      and dee would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for all of us meddlin’ kids! right, fishing village?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 34 Thumb down 8

  7. Ted Slanders says:

    .
    “The organization announced last week that it would no longer serve homeless individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol ”

    Thats just great! Now this faction will have to do “other things” to get thier food to survive in any way they can. Lock your doors and turn on the alarm systems!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 31 Thumb down 18

    • SLOBIRD says:

      I don’t think so, brother ted, the are going to reach to this group and create another arm for the organization to get new money. The grants are different, the VA has been benefits, etc. This will be another win for CAPSLO in pursuing funding for their “Center”. They will start creating branches for the homeless, tonic, families, seniors, etc. Anyone notice that the 250 bed homeless shelter is purposed at 100. That is because other branches will create the difference.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

      • Ted Slanders says:

        SLOBIRD,

        Granted, but I am talking about “now”, and in the meantime when they bilque the agencies for more money, this faction will be on the street looking for ways to feed themselves. CAPSLO is certainly NOT a pro-christian organization, that is for sure!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

    • obispan says:

      Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. Job 24:5

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

    • GoneBabyGone says:

      Great job Mr Slanders. Diverting attention of the real problem with these HUMAN BEINGS by marginalizing them with your use of “this faction”. Combine that with your fear mongering statement of “Lock your doors and turn on the alarm systems!”, goes a long way in not addressing the issues of homelessness and addiction among this part of our community.

      Dee Torres was the face of these faceless HUMAN BEINGS, she was intrusted to be their voice in a community that pretty much doesn’t want to see them, let alone hear them, and she let all of them down, time-and-time again. Her self imposed or administrative leave should become a permanent one, and if she doesn’t have the courage to do so for the betterment of the greater good than CAPSLO should take that step. If not, then demote her all the way down to a part time shelter or day center employee and let her show her self proclaimed “allegiance to the clients”.

      She, and her boyfriend, Adam Hill, have become a pariah on this community and both need to step back and reevaluate what, if anything, positive they can bring to San Luis Obspo anymore.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

    • MaryMalone says:

      Look at it as a way for Christians to practice the Good Samaratin part of the Bible.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

      • GoneBabyGone says:

        I’m sorry MaryMalone, but the possibility of that happening is as remote as Ms Torres recognizing the only relevance she has anymore to the homeless in San Luis Obispo is as a case study of what not to do.

        From what I understand the Christian Community was given an opportunity in parts of this county a while back to address this issue in a small way and were more concerned about the religious or denominational preferences of those who would need to utilize services then their need of services, the overnight parking plan was quashed as a result. If you think the community is fragmented on this issue the Christian Community is probably more so.

        I asked a local Pastor his reasoning for not opening up his worship hall at night and putting a roof over the heads of those who needed it; he told me he could not because of local ordinances. I then asked him, keeping local laws (ordinances) in mind, how he could financially support or send Christian Missionaries to regions of the world where it was against the law to do so, even putting some at risk of being killed? He really wasn’t to clear in his response to me other than to mention something about The Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) and that those who went were volunteers.

        Let me leave you with this, something timeless and timely:

        Compassion is not religious business, it is human business – it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.” – Dalai Lama (borrowed from The Hope’s Village of SLO web-sight)

        http://hopesvillageofslo.com

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  8. fishing village says:

    I favor the detox center and agree wholeheartedly with not serving people dependent on drugs and alcohol.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 22

    • IronHub says:

      THIS is what you get from the article?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

      • miles archer says:

        What I get is out of this article is more regurgitated jabs at Ms. Torres. Let me qualify my post by saying that I am NOT a fan of hers or her history at CAPSLO.

        But honestly. Because someone took a leave of absence without clearing it first with the editorial department at CCN, we need to investigate this? THIS is investigative journalism?

        And all for another opportunity to sling more mud on this woman. Because she is on leave?

        C’mon guys. If you were my 3 year old grandson, I’d tell you to grow up and move on. We get it already…you and your staff aren’t Torres fans either. So go build a facebook page and throw her under any and every bus that travels through SLO.

        THIS site is supposed to be a news outlet, with an independent voice, presented with clarity and objectivity,…but with stories like these, your voice sounds more like the ghost of W.R. Hearst.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 27 Thumb down 54

        • SLOBIRD says:

          Come on, miles, with her abuse of the homeless, overall behavior issues, and history as reported by clients, staff, and donors this is a big issue. She got demoted after years of reported concerns and issues, then takes a “leave of absence” with or without pay, which happens to be government funds, I think the community has every right to know that she is no longer there and we have a right to know if she is getting her pay. If this was a private foundation I would agree with you, but as a public funded non-profit we have a right to know.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 27 Thumb down 11

          • OnTheOtherHand says:

            And you probably will know eventually. I would guess that maybe lawyers are now involved and that means discretion by all parties until the legal issues are resolved.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

        • gardenslo says:

          miles,
          i’m going to pause this episode of dee torres/ adam hill / jerry springer for a moment to highlight your comment about your 3 year old grandson. i mean, you actually typed out that you would tell a 3 year old to grow up. ehh. is your 3 year old grandson acting too much like a, i don’t know, 3 year old?!
          this pretty much excludes you from any discussion about character, morals, clarity, objectivity, should i go on?

          unpause. sometimes people are unfairly judged. sometimes villains exist. you’d think one would like to know where their tax dollars are being spent or just be thankful that they themselves weren’t deprived, abused, or swindled by the likes of the person who is the subject of all these articles that you’re so tired of reading.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 13

          • OnTheOtherHand says:

            I think that Miles’ comment was meant as hyperbole. I’m betting that this is just a case where things are moving at legal process speeds not internet speeds. Patience can be a virtue. Idle speculation and gossip are usually not.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

            • MaryMalone says:

              “Patience is a virtue,” when it comes to addressing government malfeasance, is a fool’s errand. All it does is give the government officials more time to screw us over and cover it up.

              Should the citizens of the City of Bell stood by meekly while the investigation of Mayor Robert Rizzo bilked them of $MILLIONS?

              I find the notion of the public remaining mute and placid in the face of our fellow citizens being abused to be absolutely heinous….as I do the idea of it being a good thing for the media to sit by meekly and allow it to happen without investigation and publishing.

              Not every locale is fortunate enough to have a major daily print news publication that has the balls to do what CCN does. Print publicationsications like the LA Times are few and far between.

              In areas where the major print news publication plays meek and silent handmaidens to the rich and powerful who do so much harm to the public, it is other news sources, like CCN, that keep us informed.

              Unfortunately, it is often the government–which is supposed to be protecting us from fraud and abuse–which is the source of the fraud and abuse. So waiting meekly for government ho’s like our county supervisors to set things right is a fool’s errand.

              So, unfortunately, it is public activivism and outrage that often is THE ONLY force that can take the information from news sources like CCN and place pressure on government to effect the needed changes.

              We are often urged to get active in issues that we want to change. So when someone like you then castigates us for doing just that, you are aiding and protecting the wrongs that need to be set right.

              It was the LATimes and the angry activism of the residents of the City of Bell that forced the State to do the right thing and address the looting of public funds by Rizzo and his pals.

              And you want us to remain silent and meekly wait for…what? Santa Clause?…to magically fix it for us?

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

          • MaryMalone says:

            Supervisor Adam HIll has actively supported–by abusing the power of his vote as supervisor–the CAPSLO funding of the salary of the woman, Dee Torres, with whom he was conducting an illicit affair and with whom he is now living.

            By voting for CAPSLO funding while Torres is employed there, he committed a flagrant breach of ethics. State ethics regulations called for him to recuse himself from discussion of the issue and voting on the issue, which he did not.

            So whether or not my taxpayer dollars are STILL paying for Torres’ employment is definitely an issue for me…especially now when she Isn’t even working.

            I’m tired of my taxpayer dollars paying for Supervisor Adam HIll to sleep with his girlfriend. Aren’t you?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          Bravo! Right on the money!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  9. Pelican1 says:

    She has taken leave to help with Adam’s re-election campaign. He appointed her Medallion Chairperson. Her main focus will be to offer a “Special Medallion” to and homeless person or family that agrees to leave San Luis until after the election.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 36 Thumb down 15

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