Pressure prompted Solomon claim cancellation?
April 21, 2012
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
Former Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon has withdrawn her claim for workers’ compensation, a claim which city officials had promised they would not contest, City Manager James App confirmed in a terse email Saturday.
The claim could have cost city taxpayers as much as $3 million if Solomon were to live to age 80, according to actuarial estimates.
Solomon resigned earlier this month after a five year stint as the city’s top cop after allegations of sexual misbehavior and unlawful ticket quota practices were reported by CalCoastNews.
The sudden withdrawal of the claim came in the wake of questions directed at App and Mayor Duane Picanco by a man who identified himself in an email as James Bailey. (CalCoastNews has been unable to contact Bailey but has received copies of the email exchange.) App could not be reached immediately for comment.
The writer asked App: “(I) have yet to find the financial impact Paso Robles will incur from the uncontested workers’ comp that was part of Ms. Solomon’s deal to ‘resign’ her position as police chief… what about the uncontested workers’ comp disability claim for mental and physical stress related to this sordid affair? Is there a dollar value or a time limit imposed on this claim? Or is it an open check, from which Ms Solomon can receive benefits forever?
“I have found out that Paso Robles Worker’s Compensation plan is a self-insured plan, meaning the employer (city taxpayers) assumes the financial risk for providing benefits to its employees. In general terms, this implies the city pays the cost of each claim ‘out of pocket’ as they are incurred instead of paying a fixed premium to an insurance carrier or to a state sponsored workers’ comp fund. This would further imply that payments would come directly from the city’s general fund.
“Given that this claim was uncontested, does this also mean anything and everything about it is a secret, and the residents of Paso Robles will never know just how much this will cost them? If truly, there are no dollar or time limitations on this claim, then couldn’t she draw on this for years?”
Bailey then asked, “Don’t the citizens of this city deserve this knowledge?”
App, in a return email to Bailey Saturday morning — 12 hours after Bailey’s questions — wrote: “The claim has been withdrawn.”
When Solomon left her post, she and other city officials blamed news reports of her alleged transgressions for causing her undue stress, and as part of her so-called “retirement” at age 43, the city council agreed that her claim for workers’ comp would not be contested. Additionally, she was given $250,000 in walking money, and a confidentiality agreement so far has prevented either her or the city from revealing the contents of a city investigation into her alleged behavior.