Paso Robles Council saves us from ourselves once again
March 9, 2012
OPINION By GARY NEMETH
The Paso Robles City Council meeting on March 6 is proof that we can be assured that our elected leaders are interested only in what is best for all the citizens of Paso. During public comments a citizen identified the council and manager Jim App as being inept, and not caring about the safety of the community.
He brought up that he attended the meeting on Feb. 21 asking the council and manager to direct public works to replace signage and street lights that were inoperative. He believed that according to his training as a 30 plus year history with the California Highway Patrol this is a safety concern for the community. It has not been addressed then and it still is a safety concern and he is still requesting the council and/or App to take action.
There was no comment by the council or App.
The council saves us by placing on the ballot the question about extending the mayors term to four years. There was one public comment which was this is the wrong time to bring this up and that there are more important issues to discuss, spend money on such as hiring additional police, discuss the pending suits, and other concerns of the city rather than extending the term from two to four years.
The mayor responded that this is a very important issue. Running for mayor is very stressful, and is very expensive. You have to campaign every two years and I (mayor) believe it should be four years.
Gillman said he agreed with everything the mayor said, Gillman is running for reelection. Strong also said he agreed with Gillman and the mayor and added that by making it four years it would open it up to more people to run for mayor. Strong is also running for reelection.
Councilman Steinbeck wanted to know how this would affect him and Council Hamon running for mayor coming up. The mayor explained that since both of them had a 4 year term as councilman, they both can run for mayor and if not elected they would retain their seat as councilman. Picanco is also up for reelection as mayor.
There was no discussion on any of the issues that are facing the city today. Do you believe anyone of them should be the mayor or even be reelected?
They are hoping you will forget what the problems really are and that they have failed to handle them. The mayor stating it was a surprise to him that there is a problem. Councilman Strong stating if you see him on the street and ask him a question about what is going on; he will give you a copy of the written response from Yang that he carries or Steinbeck who will point you to the editorial from Mr. Cuddy stating that he agrees with the editorial.
The alleged ticket quota, the alleged “SPA” problem, the alleged four to five other employee complaints pending, the alleged providing incorrect numbers to DOJ, the media the citizens, with Attorney Yang stating “a new computer system, the State DOJ, or human error” caused the problem. Who had the responsibility to make sure the numbers were correct?
Most of us have heard of the Peter Principle and I believe this is a great example of that. According to the Grand Jury report just released it is obvious that the City of Paso Robles does not follow its own vacation accrual policy. The largest accumulation is among the police department, management and confidential unit employees.
Currently, a total of 47,045 hours of accumulated vacation hours is on the books equals an unfunded liability of $1,646,575. The Grand Jury also noted that Paso Robles appears to have a set of personnel rules and regulations that has not been updated since 1998. City Manager App was the personnel director for the City of Paso prior to becoming the city manager. I understand that Police Officers are needed to work the street, 27 officers to patrol, what is managements excuse?
Who recommended the attorney that is looking into some of these problems? City Attorney Yang made the recommendation on the attorney. Unused vacation time and unused sick time can be used to add to retirement as calculation for credit for years of service administrative time off to conduct an investigation is not an uncommon practice.
When did you actually see or interact with the mayor or councilman at other than when they are running for office?
Gary Nemeth retired from the San Luis Obispo Police department following a 30-year law enforcement career. Nemeth sat on the Paso Robles City Council from 2000 through 2008.
Nemeth said he has sent his opinions to other media outlets such as the San Luis Obispo Tribune which have refused to publicize his views. CalCoastNews welcomes opinions from both sides of an issue. Please include a contact phone number. Send opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org.