App mute on moles at union meetings

March 14, 2012

Jim App

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

Paso Robles City Manager Jim App and Police Chief Lisa Solomon allegedly used spies during negotiations last year with police officers’ union representatives and later discussed the practice in emails.

Members of the Police Officers Association (PRPOA) reacted sharply to the emails, copies of which were obtained through Public Records Act requests by CalCoastNews.

Jon Tatro, who until recently was president of the union group, said he has “long believed that (Solomon) has moles in the POA who report privileged information from our meetings directly back to her.” Tatro called the action criminal.

App Tuesday declined to comment on the matter. Solomon is on leave.

“It should be noted that if they gathered information from Solomon’s ‘moles’ to help them in any way to bargain against us in contract negotiations, it is a crime,” Tatro added. “It is conspiracy to commit fraud. They defrauded me out of a fair labor contract.”

Tatro’s suspicions of city spies are borne out by a Nov. 10, 2011 email from App to Solomon in which he asked, “Any info from your moles at last night’s meeting?” Union members were negotiating a new contract and discussing health benefits and salaries at that session.

Tatro and Dave Hernandez, another former union official, are accusing the city of negotiating in bad faith.

Other emails from App to Solomon showed they were involved in obtaining names and keeping track of union meeting attendees, as well as making demeaning comments about police officers for agreeing to lower wages.

Hernandez, POA president during those negotiations, said it was obvious the city manager and Solomon were trying to influence the association to vote in favor of a new health plan. He also thinks the “moles” were able to change the health plan union members voted for during the meeting.

“On that night, the officers voted unanimously to stay with the current health plan, not the one the city manager wanted us to go with,” Hernandez said. “The following day, after we explained to city management that we wanted to stay with the current plan, a sergeant began calling officers to confirm their vote.

“He explained we had no choice, that we were being selfish, and that we should change to the new health plan,” Hernandez added. “The sergeant said he was able to get enough officers to change their votes, and the health plan was switched to what the city manager wanted.”

Tatro also took issue with a Nov. 30 email exchange between Solomon and App in which the pair discusses the city’s police officers’ pay being lower than earnings of San Luis Obispo County sheriff deputies.

“So, why does anyone still work for us?” App wondered in an email to Solomon after reviewing the salary comparison.

“Good question,” Solomon responded.

“I can answer that question,” Tatro said. “Many of us are hoping not to have to work for either of you two much longer.”

Inquiries to city council members seeking comment on Solomon and App’s actions got only one response, from Fred Strong.

His March 8 email to CalCoastNews is reprinted here verbatim:

“As a member of a legislative body (one of three branches of government in the United States) and one which, at the local level, is sometimes called upon to exercise the duties and responsibilities of the judicial branch, I choose to follow Constitutional protocol and neither interfere with, nor pass judgement on, the operations or process invoked within that branch of government until and unless it comes to me in an official capacity. At that time, with appropriate evidence, rather than unsupported statements or opinions, I will respond according to established protocol and process.

“However, I do not choose to prejudice my quasi-judicial status, should it be invoked in matters that are purportedly headed in that direction.

“This has nothing to do with ‘freedom of the press’ or ‘transparency.’ It has to do with due process.

“I have never seen nor heard of any specific email content within the administrative branch of government prior to this communication. Therefore, I apologize if my response is not what you were expecting. Once alerted to the possibility of being cast into a quasi-judicial role regarding personnel matters within the Police Department, I have diligently avoided any and all articles and electronic media once the words police department, Solomon, Chief, etc. have come up in view, hearing or print.

“If this matter comes to me officially, I will give it my full attention and seek to find the truth through evidence and/or corroborated allegations. Until this clears I do not choose to engage in any discussion which might taint the process or prejudice the outcome.

“Thank you for considering me worth contacting. Best wishes, Fred.”


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Karen Velie

I will be on Dave Congalton’s KVEC radio show at 430 p.m. to discuss this issue and the statements by New Times editor Ryan Miller that KVEC is sexist and that writing about Lisa Solomon demonstrates poor journalism and low intelligence and has started a “sexist witch hunt.”


Turn your radio dial to 920 AM or listen live at http://www.920kvec.com.


IronHub

Well, everybody, New Times has joined the Trib in calling those concerned about Lisa Solomon’s behavior a sexist mob, and castigating CalCoastNews for ‘low journalistic standards.’ The Shredder, for those who don’t know, is Ryan Miller of the Santa Maria Sun, who thinks Lisa is getting a lot of grief from Paso folks just because she’s a woman. Doesn’t pay to speak out against gummit wrongdoing in this county.

http://www.newtimesslo.com/shredder/7482/high-balls/


danika

I doubt the NT has the evidence that CCN has, or the conviction to help open the eyes of those in Paso to come forward and speak to the corruption and lack of concern for those living and working in the city. I stopped reading The Shredder when he called all who live in the North County “a bunch of uneducated hicks”. I am not going to read their article but thank you for the information.


SLOBIRD

Who takes the Shredder serious? Ryan Miller’s column is like a comedy strip as he tries to be funny, obscene, and opinuated. Talk about not being serious journalism… If it was about being a woman police chief, how is it that Debbie Linden (retired SLO police chief) survived this type of scrutiny. Because she was professional, skilled and a respected leader among her peers and staff. How many of Lisa’s peers have come to her defense with the issues and problems in Paso. I have heard only negative comments about her from many LE’s that know her.


Cindy

I too, am tired of Ryan’s attempts at being funny, he ‘tries’ so hard that reading him has become nauseating and I mean that literally, in fact, I just said that to someone last month. However, I hit the link that IronHub posted and waded through the foolishness until I got to the part about CCN. Amazing that he believes there is no dishonor or scandal for a married high level public servant to engage in sexual activities with a subordinate and then deliver the proof of the affair with an outright “delivery in the maternity ward”! I mean really……..if he has no sense of morality and how it plays into public trust, perhaps he would do well to pay attention to all the Republican and Democrat campaigns as he will quickly gain some insight as to what the public thinks.


Ryan say’s this is a witch hunt where people agree that Lisa stepped in it but don’t seem to know what she stepped in! WOW, give it a break Ryan, try reading rather than trying to be funny writing “non journalist” pieces under a pseudonym and you will learn that she didn’t do anything with her feet, she did it with her hands.


Come to think of it, Ryan Miller actually does make a good BOZO.


IronHub

Check out the date of this CCN post from “Scarlet” regarding Ryan Miller.


05/18/2010 at 12:01 pm


“Scarlet says:

“I’m enjoying this thread way too much.

“After the New Times’ meth story and then a myriad of puff pieces, I was thrilled to find CalCoastNews. I remember listening to Ryan Miller go after Karen on the Congalton show about that beastiality story. He was anything but objective in his criticism.

“And then CalCoastNews added the events calendar and Eye on the Coast and I realized that she must be trying to use new media to cut in on New Times’ turf.

“The way this is all playing out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller use his publication to try to discredit Karen. If that day does come, I’ll be sad for New Times.


MaryMalone

Unless someone points it out to me as having something relevant to read, I avoid the shredder.


Didn’t use to be like that. The shredder used to be much better.


I don’t know when Miller started writing the column, but there has definitely been a slide into the toilet for the column, compared to the writing in the past.


MaryMalone

P.S. With that being said, I read the prior week’s shredder (on Diablo Canyon) which was spot on. He didn’t just take what was spoon fed to him by PG&E, but seemed to have done a lot of research.


That makes me think there is a specific reason why he is puling this stun regarding the coverage of CCN’s on a specific issue: solomon’s scandals.


LensCleaner

Hate to bust your bubble SLOBIRD but Linden was not what you perceive … but without question, Linden was more polished then Soloman.


Linden did Soloman a big, big favor to Soloman when she rehired her husband back to SLOPD.


Their were more bones in that matter then you would find in Washington DC’s Smithsonian Museum, but something tells me they looked the other way ….. right Deb?.


Crusader

Linden was just another political pig but next to Lisa Solomon she looked like Joe Friday and Bill Gannon combined…


Dave

Karen will be on KVEC 920 AM today (Thursday) at 4:30 to update the Paso Robles story and respond to The Shredder.


Meanwhile, here’s an oldie-but-goodie from 2010 unveiling rampant sexism in the New Times newsroom.


Being called sexist by New Times is like being called stupid by Forrest Gump.


Dave
KatieEvans

“Being called sexist by New Times is like being called stupid by Forrest Gump”


Thanks Dave, I’ll be tuned in today and I do think that scarlet hit the nail head dead center. I’m disgusted to read that Ryan Miller is such a “HYPOCRITE”. He is a long time member at one of the most, hard core, old world, bible thumping churches on the central coast. He knows better and I would like to remind Ryan about what the Lord says about “HYPOCRITES”.


It would seem that he has more fear of CalCoastNews than he fears the penalty embraced within his own religious convictions. Nothing wrong with adultery, really Ryan?


MaryMalone

I think what the Jewish/Christian God has to say about having a double standard is more pertinent:


Deuteronomy 25, 13-15 : Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.


Clearly, the shredder’s column’s author demonstrated a double standard, which makes his opinion illogical and invalid.


By judging solomon with one standard, and then judging CCN’s staff with another standard, is clearly unethical.


Worse, he has to go to such absurd lengths to claim CCN is sexist for printing the truth about solomon, who sexually attacked and harassed her subordinates, indicates he is desperate to tarnish CCN and make solomon look like a victim.


The damage solomon has done to the lives and careers of her officers, and the damage she has done to the safety of Paso Robles, putting its residents at higher risk. is heinous.


Miller attacking CCN for outing that heinous damage done by solomon is, itself, heinous.


Ted Slanders

Mary Malone,


OMG! I wasn’t aware that you also wear a religious robe! Mine is purple, what color is yours?


MaryMalone

Black. What color are your feathered high-heeled mules?


danika

Another visual by Mary Malone, TS in feathered anything! …you made me spit tea all over my monitor! LMAO!!


NCT

The snitch is Sgt. Clint Winters, who was caught having illicit relations with another P.R.P.D. employee, resulting in his divorce from his first wife and to be exiled to the King City P.D. After persuading Lisa he was re-hired by P.R.P.D.

Even though he has worked in L.E. For many years, he is has only attained the rank of a lowly sergeant. Clint has never been invited to “Choir Practice” or other private activities by his fellow officers since he was never trusted not to snitch them out.


SLOBIRD

Assuming this information is correct (and I have no reason to believe it isn’t) I “Thank You” for exposing more of the corruption. I’m sure he didn’t have to work to hard to persuade Lisa to re-hire him. Once a snitch allows a snitch and I wouldn’t trust him either! Another piece of the cancer to be disposed of. I encourage each and every City employee to expose the wrongdoing, corruption, intimidation going on in this City that you are aware. This is your chance to help cleanup this mess and become part of the solution and this will be coming to an end and I would hate to innocent people hurt in the coverups but then, I think you would deserve it if you don’t speak up now and help solve this. Several department heads/managers to be need to be disposed of with the rest of this corruption mafia.


danika

It is posts such as yours that brings light to a dark side of the PRPD. Ugly things the people of Paso need to know to help sweep out the corruption and bring in those who will work to the interests of those they serve instead of themselves. Thank you for speaking out.


MarkJames

Winters and Solomon sound like two peas in a pod. I doubt he had to do much persuading to get his job back in Paso Robles.


Imagine that though, he had an illicit, adulterous affair with another employee and he was banned to King City! I guess those privileges combined with ‘sexual assault’ are reserved for the Chief alone.


People here do realize that grabbing another individuals genitals without consent is a SEXUAL ASSAULT, right? I know that Ryan Miller, doesn’t know that but I thought I would check with the rest of you.


pattyflowers

get a clue. the man never worked for King City. Seek the truth and avoid idiocy.


pattyflowers

This is an example of why these blogs are misleading. I am all for finding the truth but this blog by NCT is crazy. Nothing in this blog is true except that Wenters (not Winters) worked at Paso PD. When he left to another department and returned, Solomon was still a nobody so “persuading” her would be irrelevant. I know this information because I have been in this town and have known the folks at the PD for 25 years. The fact that NCT doesn’t even know how to spell the man’s name right shows that he knows nothing and is only spewing venom to make his miserable life more exciting. And you guys commenting about NCT post and thanking him. Well, this is why these blogs are not taken serious and why no one had the guts to show at the council meeting…


danika

Pattyflowers, if we are going to throw around time spent in this town, I’ve been here for 50 years and have also known “folks” at the PD. Your statement that “nothing in this blog is true” is, in itself, untrue. Pretty easy for everyone to disregard what you say after making such a false statement.


pattyflowers

Misunderstanding. The untrue portion of the blog is in regards to Wenter. Name, work location and time frame. He has been retired for almost two years and has not attended a meeting in that time to be a “snitch”. Obviously to me, if you don’t know how to spell the man’s name, then you probably cannot say anything truthful about him. In my tenure here as a busy owner, I agree with CCN and do not dispute any of the allegations brought forward about the Chief of App. Lets leave the worker bees out of this. Especially if the info is false.

The smallest seeds make the prettiest flowers. Check me out downtown


MaryMalone

“Winters” and “Wenters” are not that far off. This is not a submission of a Writ of Complaint to the courthouse. It’s a message board.


Wenters/Winters could have been a snitch until the time it retired.


Besides, there is no more proof that you are correct than the original poster is correct.


i don’t get where you get off being all snippy when you provide no more “proof” of your claims than does the original poster, and only speak up AFTER the original poster broke the issue.


MaryMalone

For the record, a poster gave “Winters” name as a snitch. That name, nor “WEnters,” were not in the article at the top of the comments.


And if you know so danged much, stop playing coy and let ‘er rip, or quit criticizing others who are sharing information.


danika

PP5, I really hope you stay and continue to provide us with your opinions. I, for one, don’t always agree with you but I do want to hear what you have to say. Blessings.


choprzrul

The only difference I see in this story is that this group of government employees got caught.


MaryMalone

This is a good quote to think of when we get tired of having to deal with government corruption:


“To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.”

—G. Edward Griffin


——————


And the next time you run into someone who says “why do you waste so much time on politics?”…


Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.

― Pericles c. 495 – 429 BC


The Gimlet Eye

Well said, MaryMalone, well said.


MaryMalone

I think the corruption at Paso Robles probably extends into the city finances.


When is the last time an audit was done on PR? Who did it? Those would be interesting things to find out.


If we know when the last audit was done and who did it, we can probably guess as to whether anything was covered up.


I’ve worked at two local government agencies which had at four government audits as was required by their policies. Some auditors are thorough. Some don’t even ask to look at but a small portion of the records.


MikeB

When I attended the Police Academy in 1973 there was a movie released the same year by name of Serpico.” It starred Al Pacino and it chronicled the brief career of Officer Frank Serpico of the NYPD.


Officer Serpico fought back against a culture of corruption that was systemic in his department and tolerated by many in the upper levels of management.


After being gravely wounded in a shooting, Officer Serpico retired, but his testimony was crucial during congressional hearings on police corruption.


The movie made a lasting impression on me and my career and I have always thought it should be mandatory viewing for all police officer recruits.


Here is an excerpt from Officer Serpico’s testimony before the Knapp Commission in 1971:


“To embody the spirit of professionalism, ethical conduct must be a way of life for those in policing. To maintain the community’s trust, peace officers must maintain consistently high standards of ethical conduct. Officers must model and live as examples of the behavior they are charged to enforce.


The policing community is only as strong as its weakest link. Unethical conduct affects the image and morale of the entire profession and offends officers and society throughout the country.


“We must create an atmosphere in which the dishonest officer fears the honest one, and not the other way around.”


The Gimlet Eye

This is the kind of talk that I like to hear from LE. Police corruption is more common than a lot of us would like to admit. But it can be corrected if enough people get involved and demand that it stop.


salty

Where are the tar and feathers?