Atascadero police chief steps down suddenly

January 8, 2011

Jim Mulhall

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.







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42 Comments

  1. danika says:

    His retiring isn’t questioned in my mind. The sudden and unexpected announcement is. That speaks volumes. Something is the driving force behind this quick decision and it aint the grandkids….

    (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
    • Paso Pete says:

      It’s curious that the embattled Assessor Tom Bordonaro Jr is very close with ex Chief Mulhall and his wife Terri. She apparently has worked with him on fund raising, etc. The Assessor is currently under investigation by the Grand Jury (it’s all hush hush). It makes me think the assessor had to throw Chief Mulhall under the bus to save himself and maybe he informed Mulhall of impending public disgrace. Remember the Assessor didn’t hesitate to throw his staff and his parents under the bus publicly. Jim isn’t the type to make sudden, unexpected decisions…..something is up. I bet that RAT we have as an assessor is at the bottom of the cesspool.

      (10) 18 Total Votes - 14 up - 4 down
      • Cindy says:

        Hummm, That’s interesting. I haven’t heard anything about that. Generally our GJ is very weak and nothing ever goes anywhere even when they do make a recommendation. On the other hand, the FBI may very well have their day with him for reasons apart from his fund raising, just saying….

        (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
        • Cindy says:

          P.S. My above statement about the FBI refers to Bordonaro, not Mulhall.

          (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down
      • taxpayer says:

        Question: How could anyone know what the Grand Jury is investigating unless they are on the Grand Jury? If someone who appears before the Grand Jury and tells what they talked about, they are breaking the law. If someone on the Grand Jury talks about it, they are breaking the law. I don’t care who or what they are investigating but if information is being leaked that is a major problem. Grand Jurors are supposed to take their oaths very seriously.

        (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  2. Dexter says:

    I’m thinking out loud too ….

    Combine this …..

    NOTICE OF A SPECIAL MEETING
    Atascadero City Council
    Tuesday, January 4, 2010
    6:00 P.M.
    City Hall – Council Chambers
    6907 El Camino Real, Atascadero, California
    CLOSED SESSION
    CITY COUNCIL CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.
    1. CLOSED SESSION — PUBLIC COMMENT
    2. COUNCIL LEAVES CHAMBERS TO BEGIN CLOSED SESSION
    3. CLOSED SESSION — CALL TO ORDER
    a. Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation
    Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to subdivision (b)
    of Section 54956.9: (one case)
    4. CLOSED SESSION — ADJOURNMENT
    5. COUNCIL RETURNS TO CHAMBERS
    6. CLOSED SESSION — REPORT
    ADJOURNMENT: The Council will adjourn to its next regularly scheduled meeting.
    STATE OF CALIFORNIA )
    COUNTY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO )
    CITY OF ATASCADERO )
    MARCIA MCCLURE TORGERSON, C.M.C., being fully sworn, deposes, and says: That she is the duly elected City Clerk of the City of Atascadero and that on Wednesday, December 29, 2010, she caused the above Notice to be posted on the doors of the City Hall, 6907 El Camino Real, Atascadero, California.
    ____________________________________________
    MARCIA MCCLURE TORGERSON, C.M.C.
    City Clerk, City of Atascadero

    with this …..

    http://calcoastnews.com/2008/11/housemate-cops-cruising-to-cash-in/

    Housemate cops cruising to cash in
    November 29, 2008 3:46 pm
    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.

    (15) 17 Total Votes - 16 up - 1 down
    • Nancimeek says:

      Who is the attorney of record for the City of Atascadero? I know years ago it was Robert Jones

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
      • Cindy says:

        I have been living in A-town for 12 years and Robert Jones was not “one of” our City Attorney’s during those years. You crack me up, I know Jones is a #$%^ but he can’t be responsible for everything ;).

        I support your crusade, keep riding that doggie – he needs to be hogtied.

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
        • Nancimeek says:

          According to his bio on the Atascadero Water board website Robert Grigger Jones was the city attorney for Atascadero from 1984 to 1986

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • thinkaboutit says:

      For all its investigative reporting, it’s too bad this copy reads like something out of an old Rona Barrett gossip column. Ick.

      (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
      • cheseburger says:

        Thinkaboutthis, try just reading the article and not the blog.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. willie says:

    It seems they have evidence of something and are cleaning their own house before the image of Atascadero gets smeared, and because of personnel privacy laws we will never know the what happen.

    (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
  4. babymommy says:

    Humm…just taking a wild stab here but pyrotechnics and gun trade/dealing, probably not the side jobs a police chief should be doing…again, just thinking out loud here people :)

    (7) 21 Total Votes - 14 up - 7 down
    • SLOPolyGrad says:

      Are you that retarded. He volunteers to risk his life to disarm any explosive devices that some nut might leave, and he’s suspect??? It’s nuts like you that start rumors without knowing anything.

      (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
  5. hotdog says:

    I wonder if all the scandals CCN has pointed out with the APD has something to do with this.

    (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
  6. calzoni says:

    In the absence of any involvement of bad business in Atascadero and the suddeness of his stepping down, my prediction is that he will be the new undersheriff once Basti’s year is up. He’s leaving now so that the transition to a new chief in Atascadero can be accomplished smoothly. And he will be around for the next 12 months to assist. Just my thought……

    (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
  7. SLOChuck says:

    Curious and curiouser. I can’t wait to find out the real story here. Who steps down to “be with their family” right AFTER the holidays? If it really were to be with the family, why not do it before the holidays so you can fully enjoy the season. Just my thoughts.

    (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
    • zaphod says:

      We just had a county planning commissioner do the same, are we seeing a trend?

      (12) 16 Total Votes - 14 up - 2 down
      • willie says:

        It could be cause/ effect maturing (not accidental) and transparency/ cleansing.

        (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  8. Nancimeek says:

    No doubt we will be learning very very soon. It may have something to do with City of Atascadero investigations as well as the Gearhart, Grigger Jones, Pe Ji Ho ta and Hurst Financial debacle . Curious to see Maybe it was a resignation for family issues owever the closed sessions with Atascadero council and the resignation are suspect.

    (9) 17 Total Votes - 13 up - 4 down
    • Cindy says:

      There has never been any indication that Mulhall was connected to any of those people. He wasn’t involved in construction either. Don’t know what happened but I would be surprised if it has anything to do with any of those characters. I don’t think our CC would allow him to be terminated for not playing ball either, there are some honest ones that would speak out about it, although after Marty Tracy, it’s hard to know that for certain.

      There is a local citizen with a family member working inside City Hall. He say’s that Mulhall was indeed called into McKinney’s office and given the ultimatum to resign or be removed, this occurred a few day’s prior to the announcement of his resignation. Eventually we will hear what the truth is, this stuff eventually always falls out of the closet. Many people who know him say he is a very nice guy, even nice guy’s can be guilty of extremely poor judgment on occasion. I suspect, this is probably about one of those times.

      (9) 17 Total Votes - 13 up - 4 down
    • kellygirl says:

      Nanci —

      here’s a news flash for you: Not everything that happens in the world is because of Grigger Jones. Give it a rest, please. Let’s wait for Karen to tell us what she finds out.

      (4) 16 Total Votes - 10 up - 6 down
      • Nancimeek says:

        Tell you what Kellygirl? when Grigger Jones who used to be the City of Atascadero legal counsel, is convicted of the forgery and fruad he committed regarding our father’s estate, and justice is served, then i will stop talking about him. Perhaps Mulhall was asked to step down because he is honest and doesn’t want to play ball with the corruption in the Central Coast

        Also if everyone in SLO government was honest then why won’t Louise Comar the DA in SLO press charges against Grigger Jones Certainly Detective Pflum has made a case on our behalf. Detective Pflym is with the Atascadero PD and certainly Mulhall knows about our charges filed against Jones

        Grigger Jones? Give it a rest? Until justice is served NOONE RESTS.

        Until the corruption is gone Noone rests. Thank you Karen Velie for bringing all of this to press I have diligently tried to get other news agencies on board by passing the word around

        (5) 17 Total Votes - 11 up - 6 down
        • cheseburger says:

          I second that response and add that Griger Jones is also under investigation by the F.B.I.

          I secondly allege on information and belief that he was/is the ring leader in the whole Hurst

          Financial Fiasco!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          He defended Gearhart verbally to me saying if I did anything to him while in bankruptcy I

          would face extremely serious consequences, I asked him in closed court room chambers if he was

          part of the Indian gaming casino gang, he pleaded the fifth.

          SO I WAITED, HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW, never under estimate your opponent!

          DEFAULT JUDGMENT ENTERED NOVEMBER 22, 2010 against Gearhart, NOW WAIT AND SEE WHAT I DO NEXT!

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  9. Nancy says:

    This is an odd history. He left the SLOSD in 2005 holding a position of commander and then in 2007 joined the APD as a lieutenant. Isn’t a commander a higher rank than a lieutenant? Then he makes Chief and quits one year before he is fully vested into the department? Then he say’s that he may return to law enforcement later. Doesn’t make sense. Wonder what he did to be terminated?

    (12) 18 Total Votes - 15 up - 3 down

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