Atascadero police chief steps down suddenly
January 8, 2011
Atascadero police Chief Jim Mulhall resigned Friday claiming he was stepping down in order to spend more time with his family, according to a city press release.
However, several sources told CalCoastNews earlier in the week that Muhall had been asked to resign or face termination. Numerous calls to his office before his official resignation were sent to a disconnected phone line or not returned.
Councilperson Roberta Fonzi said she was not able to discuss the issue because of personnel privacy laws.
On Jan. 4, the council met in a special closed session called to discuss anticipated exposure to significant litigation. It is not known if the special meeting is connected to Mulhall’s sudden resignation.
Mulhall, 58, began his career with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department in 1981, retiring from there with the rank of commander in 2005. In early 2007, he joined the Atascadero Police Department as a Lieutenant and was promoted to the chief’s position in December 2007.
Mulhall resignation one year before he would have met the five years required in order to be vested in a second government retirement.
While working with the Atascadero Police Department, Mulhall held down a number of side jobs including working as a pyrotechnics expert and a gun dealer.
City Manager Wade McKinney announced that Stephen Gesell of the Atascadero Police Department will serve as the acting Chief of Police while a search is conducted for Mulhall’s replacement.