Atascadero and Paso Robles violating personnel rules

March 2, 2012

Atascadero City Manager Wade McKinney has accumulated nearly $100,000 in vacation accrual.

Atascadero and Paso Robles employees are breaking rules that limit the amount of vacation accrual leaving Atascadero with $887,320 and Paso Robles with $1,646,575 in unfunded liability, according to Grand Jury report (pdf) released Thursday.

In Paso Robles and Atascadero, personnel rules, set in place to protect the city from financial liability, make department heads responsible for ensuring vacation policies are enforced. However, the greatest violators of the rules include city managers and high ranking employees.

The failures to follow personnel rules have left both cities in a financial precarious situations, the report said.

CalCoastNews first broke information that Atascadero city management had failed to follow rules in place to protect the financial security of the city in June using unfunded liability graphs constructed by former Atascadero Mayor Mike Brennler. These graphs show the biggest violators are City Manager Wade McKinney and his assistant Marcia Torgerson.

“These violations are an affront to the citizens of Atascadero as well as the other 100 city employees who abide by the rules,” Brennler said. “What example is being set by their managers and the city council who tolerate such abuse?”

Shortly after CalCoastNews broke the story about Atascadero’s unfunded liability, the City Council agreed to make changes regarding accrued vacation times, but failed to follow thorough.

The San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury recommends the Atascadero City Council follow through and start dealing with the problem of its large unfunded vacation accrual.

In addition, the Grand Jury recommends Paso Robles officials take “immediate steps to stop additional vacation accumulation in violation of its own policies.”

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OMG another black mark on the city and how these yahoos run our town. Report on KSBY Paso City

Manager App is saying in a email that the Grand Jury does not know how it works…

How embarrassing for us that live here, and hoping to draw some tourist to bring in some

money and/or business to move here…and when they hear the past two months of news of

what is going on in this town, I would bet more people are considering leaving the town than

moving here. How much evidence does a Grand Jury need that a city is being run by a bunch

of yahoos…and running it into the ground at that…

I don’t see the problem, they knew they were limits to the accrual of vacation hours when they were hired, just erase anything over the limit. Problem solved. Also, seek restitution of any monies “accidentally” paid to retirees for hours over the limit. It’s in the contract!

The title of the GJ Report is “Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later”? Isn’t that what working girls say to their–clients?

Me thinks the GJ is a little sick and tired of dealing with the antics of PR and Atascadero.

But, heck, with the SLO County loser DA, who wastes his time on fighting legalized medical pot–unsuccessfully, I might add, losing 10 out of 11 so far–I guess the GJ is stuck doing the DA’s work for him.

Maybe the GJ will get sick of doing the DA’s work for him, and start doing some GJ reports about the DA.


That’s why the Paso Robles Managers make the big bucks!


The City of Paso Robles has a policy governing how many vacation hours an employee may accumulate on an annual basis. This accumulation is based upon time in service and ranges from 80 to 160 hours, except for Management and Confidential Unit employees who may accrue up to 200 hours.

In the City’s Personnel Rules, under Section 16.02 (c), however, the policy states: “At no time may an employee have a total balance of vacation days in excess of one-and-one-half times its current annual accrual rate. Excess vacation accrued in this manner shall be lost if not taken within 60 days of the date the maximum accumulation is reached”

The Grand Jury investigation found that 67 of 165 City employees, or 40%, exceed the maximum vacation allowed, even though the City has a policy of paying off vacation time up to one week per year, if the employee has at least three weeks of vacation accumulated. It is obvious that the City does not follow its own vacation accrual policy.

The Grand Jury investigation revealed that the City has an enormous problem of accumulated vacation time and related unfunded liability. The largest accumulation is among the Police Department and Management and Confidential Unit employees, the two highest paid units in the City. This situation magnifies the problem because the cost of payout per employee in these two units exceeds the cost of payout per employee in the Miscellaneous Unit (non-safety personnel).

Currently the City has 47,045 total hours of accumulated vacation on its books and unfunded liability for accumulated vacation time of $1,646,575 because it does not enforce its maximum vacation accumulation policy. The 165 City employees have an average of 285 accumulated vacation hours or more than 36 days per employee, which is the highest in the county.

In contrast, the City of San Luis Obispo has 50,429 hours on its books for 345 employees, for an average time accumulated vacation time of only 18.25 days per employee.

The City of Paso Robles has unlimited accrual of sick leave, as do most of the cities in the county.

The Grand Jury also noted that the City of Paso Robles appears to have a set of personnel rules and regulations that has not been updated since 1989. As a result, there may be significant outdated policies and procedures that require a thorough review by the City Council and staff.


The City of Paso Robles, with only 165 employees, has more than 47,000 hours of accumulated vacation on its books and an enormous unfunded liability of $1,646,575.

The City of Paso Robles has a policy stating that no employee can exceed one-and-one-half times their annual accumulation or they will lose their vacation time.

The City of Paso Robles is in gross violation of its own policy governing accumulated vacation time; 40% of City employees exceed the stated policy.

The City of Paso Robles has not updated its personnel rules and regulations since 1989.

“Paso Robles wins again”… the Most-Loser-City category.

Can we vote for favorite paragraph in the GJ Report?

This is mine:

The Grand Jury investigation found that 67 of 165 City employees, or 40%, exceed the maximum vacation allowed, even though the City has a policy of paying off vacation time up to one week per year, if the employee has at least three weeks of vacation accumulated. It is obvious that the City does not follow its own vacation accrual policy.

No kidding–Paso Robles thinks it is above the law, and even its own policies.

I think Paso Robles uses its personnel policies like it does the Brown Act: as toiletpaper to wipe its collective and individual kiester.

It is demonstrably true that public jobs are a sure path, even for the marginally functioning, to high paying no accountability employment with guaranteed fat lifetime pay increases and pensions. They do it because they can, with impunity. It is by far the best employment choice the average young person could make.

I agree ….and just ask Sheriff Ian Parkinson. It amuses me that his new undersheriff is more qualified than his boss.

The only qualification to being successful in public jobs, at least in SLO County, is one has to be willing to whore oneself–hopefully must metaphorically, but probably physically, too, at times (reference: Maria Kelly).

If you have ethics, you also have to be a doormat on Quaaludes to success in SLO County public jobs.

Perhaps the SLO Grand Jury could look into why it is a victim is not allowed a copy of their police report from the Atascadero PD without incurring the expense of an attorney to serve a subpoena. I mean while we are talking about improvements……….might be one to consider.

Good point, Nanci.

and another thing, the staff agreed to forgo a COL raise and made a big deal about how they were all doing their part. BUT…… In place of the increase, they gave themselves an extra 80 hours of annual paid time off! This was actually more valuable than the raise they would have received. Of course they ended up using the extra 80 hours for vacation and then accruing their standard vacation time and this is exactly how this BS happens to us taxpayers. What a racket they have going, only in the public sector can something as ridiculous as this occur. How about they REALLY DO THEIR PART for a change? Never gonna happen, they’re all entitled thanks to us taxpayers and our ambivalence.

The governing council had to sign off on it! Dont vote for any recumbant and demand the city follow their own policies.

Apparently, “doing their part” has something to do with a hot-tub, groping hoo-hoos, and booooobies.

First Atascadero started going down by getting into bed with Gearhart and now Paso is going down with people getting into bed with our Chief of police.

Instead of “Paso Robles is going down with people getting into bed with our Chief of police, maybe it’s “Our Chief of police is going down and getting into bed with…”

Oh, never mind.

Wade McKinney manages to received almost if not 12 weeks per year or 25% of his pay in paid time off. He takes plenty of time off but doesn’t need to use his vacation so he banks it where he will collect it all later at a higher rate. He knows he is breaking the rules but who cares, not him or the CC so he does it anyway. We wouldn’t have this problem if the City Council would reign this guy in but no, they just keep kissing his ass. When Mike Brennler attempted to raise the question in a public forum, they (the CC) refused to discuss it. In some ways we are almost as messed up as Paso Robles where the CC is run by the City manager, only difference is that our City Manager won’t go out on the line for anybody and he fires his naughty Police Chiefs when they get caught.