Housemate cops cruising to cash in
November 29, 2008
By KAREN VELIE
Atascadero City Manager Wade McKinney probably isn’t feeling very gay this holiday season after getting some straight talk about a looming and large payout of taxpayer money to settle a police department dispute.
McKinney, who heads SLO county’s most litigious city, learned recently that a mediator’s decision that favors Police. Lt. Carole Robinson will cost the city heftily, according to well-placed city sources.
A group of white male officers alleged Robinson promoted her live-in cop girlfriend while passing over more qualified men
on the force. Robinson, with more than 20 years under her belt, is the department’s longest-serving officer and has maintained an unblemished record.
Interdepartmental bickering over the promotion escalated between those who contended Robinson was not involved in her partner’s promotion, and a group of white male officers who alleged discrimination.
When McKinney hired new Police Chief Jim Mulhall earlier this year, Mulhall was instructed to start an immediate internal investigation into the matter, sources said. Mulhall eventually ordered either of the two alleged lesbian officers to resign. Neither complied and Robinson retained an attorney.
A November 11 mediation to discuss Robinson’s situation resulted in a favorable ruling for the female officer, so city taxpayers are slated to fork out a sizeable sum for McKinney’s and Mulhall’s pricey lesson on lesbian litigation. Sources could not provide details of the amount involved. Nor is it clear if Robinson’s partner, Sgt. Tiffany Ayles, is planning to file a claim against the city, though she has retained attorney Louis Silver to represent her.
In typical Atascadero style, mum’s the word. Neither Mulhall nor McKinney returned requests for comment. Police department officials won’t say if the two female officers involved in the dispute are back at work – after spending more than three months on paid administrative leave – or if the pair will ever return to active duty.