Solomon costs taxpayers more than $300,000

April 13, 2012

Lisa Solomon

Paso Robles city officials have already spent about $330,000 dealing with allegations of sexual and managerial misconduct by former police Chief Lisa Solomon. [Tribune]

A cost that is likely to increase as the city battles lawsuits already filed or in the works regarding Solomon’s alleged illicit acts.

Following allegations by her officers that she sexually assaulted several men, the city hired an investigator to look into the complaints. At $150 an hour, San Francisco based investigator Debra Estrin billed for 56 hours during her two and a half month investigation at a cost to the taxpayers of $8,400.

City officials have refused to release the findings of Estrin’s investigation to the media, though several of the officers who have or are working on filing lawsuits against the city said their attorneys plan to procure the report through legal avenues.

In addition to reports of sexual assaults, a handful of former and current officers claim Solomon utilized illegal traffic quotas, and falsified city crime statistics while serving as the city’s top law enforcement official.

In March, city officials agreed to pay Solomon $250,000 and not fight her bid for disability as part of  Solomon’s separation agreement. The contract also prohibits Solomon and city officials from disparaging each other.

In addition to the cost of the settlement and the investigation, the city has incurred about $71,000 in legal fees associated with the Solomon scandal. City attorney Iris Yang is with the Sacramento-based firm of Best Best & Krieger LLP, the same firm that represented the city of Bell.


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Sherlock

pasoman pasojim marymalone pasoobserver: You all make very, very good points. You show sound judgement and are courteous to others. Perhaps the best place to take this discussion is into a neutral forum….perhaps the League of Womens voters? They take on high profile subjects in a safe / friendly setting

and invite everryone to attend. Removing App at this point in time with all the water / sewage / treatment issues may seem like changing horses in mid stream (or jackasses) :) but the country has gotten through worse things: 911. The City got through the 2003 earthquake. We got through the closing of the Boys School. We got through the devastated downtown when Walmart opened. We got through the 1991 – 1997 recession. We will get through this. First, a resolution stating we can’t go back, we must resolve the issues at hand. Second, a thorough assessing of the actions taken to date and reflection on the path chosen. Third, an honest / open-forum effort to seek new ideas or revisit old ones. Lastly, we forge ahead, like we have always done in Paso Robles.

There is nothing wrong with change, change is good. What does not kill us makes us stronger. Changing the CC, the CM the CA and anyone else is not a bad thing; it is what it is: change. CPRN2012.


pasojim

Pasoman

I agree with much of what you have to say.


I will not hear anymore about how bad Mr. Borst or any citizens that have stood up and questioned what a public servant is telling them, we need many, many more of them.


We both agree the problems we face in our city are enormous. I don’t think there can be any argument about that.


We are going to have to prioritize what we are going to do in order to fix them all. It took many years of neglect to get to this point and it is going to take many years to fix all the problems.


The major problem with the water plan is it was designed many years ago when one of our previous CC decided that our city was going to grow to 45,000 people.


One of the problems our water department is facing today is the population of Paso has less water customers, and the growth that was supposed to help pay for the system isn’t happening. So they are having a hard time balancing their budget.


The idea this plan being tied this growth that isn’t going to happen is a problem for me.


Citizens would be appalled If more of us were aware what our state government was doing to us by the over regulation is going to be imposed on all of us in the very near future

.

We are already seeing what they are doing to our homes, The regulations they are going to impose on our business is going to be much worse.


Business is already leaving this state, under all this new regulation, many more of our business’s will leave this state and take many of our workers with them. I don’t think there would be much argument if I were to say the population of Paso Robles is not going to make to 45,000 people in my life time or my children’s life time for that matter.


WE are already paying fines because of the chronic mis-management of our sewer treatment plant, maybe it would be more responsible to start there.


Yes we have already invested in the pipeline, that is certainly not a bad thing.

There have been a lot of ideas tossed around over the years that were trashed because they were not big picture enough for our city bureaucrats. Maybe we could go back and look at them again.


The conversation that needs to happen needs much more room than what we have here,

But when we start to prioritize what we are going to fix first, taking the citizen out of the discussion and just buying in to anything the bureaucrats tell us isn’t going to work for me.


pasoobserver

To pasoman — Your statement “Due to Borst, we watch water go by and still pay” Not true!

The citizens of Paso Robles are watching water go by and still pay is due to our City officials poor planning on not building a water treatment plant to filter the Nacimiento Lake water. By law, the lake

water needs filtration prior to allowing it to flow to water customers. Our city officials rushed our

financing obligations to build the Nacimiento Water Pipeline Project at approximate $176,000,000

without voter approval. Are you aware? San Luis Obispo is receiving Nacimiento Lake water via

the Nacimiento Pipeline is because that City had a WATER TREATMENT PLANT BUILT FIRST prior to signing on to finance their shared commitment to the pipeline. That’s good planning! So, the

Nacimiento Water Pipeline in Paso Robles turned out to be a fiasco. Of course, city officials needed a “scapegoat”. So, blame Mr. Borst for the City’s poor planning.


Paso_citizen

Another fine example of how our city council has FAILED this city. I believe I am correct in that the Nacimiento will not be accessible to us until sometime in 2016 (another 4 years), provided a new

water treatment plant is built. All the other cities that helped pay for the pipeline are now using that water. What has happened to the money collected monthly since 2005? According to CC minutes of August 2004, and my own water bills – there has been the following charges to each water customer.

July 2005 to June 2006 — $6 per month

July 2006 to June 2007 — $12 per month

July 2007 to Dec 2011 — $18 per month

This is almost $1200 that each water customer has paid for Nacimiento water – almost $12 million

if there were 10,000 water customers. This may be even higher.

And now, starting in Jan 2012 – the unit cost of our water was raised ($18/month fee dropped), and

will be raised much, much higher by the time we get to use one, single drop of Nacimiento water.

Why didn’t our CC know in 2004 that a water treatment plant had to be built? And planned for it?


As a second thought on this water issue (and now a new sewar plant), has anyone else seen that

their water usage for Dec 2011, Jan 2012, and Feb 2012 was significantly higher that those same

3 months in any of the prior 6 years? And have no reasonable explanation for this increase? No significant changes in water usage, more lawn or plant irrigation, added swimming pool, took more and longer showers, did much more laundry, washed dishes 2 or 3 times daily, etc. that would help explain the significant increase. Note, that our new sewar rates, come July 2012, will be based on

our water usage in Dec, Jan, and Feb. Just curious.


MaryMalone

Unless Paso already has the land for the facility purchased, and all of the permits, licenses, and other county, state and fed approval needed for construction of the WWT plant, I would be very surprised if they got through even half of the process in four years.


I mean, the Environmental Impact Report alone can take for freaking ever, and findings in the report can derail or greatly change a project that has already had considerable planning done.


pasoman

A water treatment plant won’t be anything like a waste water treatment plant. So I think you’re a little pessimistic. But, I Agee it won’t be “tomorrow”.


MaryMalone

“WWT” was supposed to be “WT” (for water treatment)–I got a little carried away there, I guess.


Just putting it out to bid takes months and months. It has to go through committees before, during and after the bid documents are developed.


Maybe you’re right. I just can’t see it done for years in the future, even if they started right this minute.


pasoman

I think your point is still valid, it wont happen over night. But, I don’t think it’s as bad as you see it. WT plants are really just filtration and chlorine basicly. They may even be skid mounted.


BUT, again, your point is valid. They need planning to get this going!


MaryMalone

Do you think the city will just contract it out to the Wallace Group?


pasoman

If you’re talking about design/construction, then I think they’ll bid it out. I can’t see them just awarding the work without bids. Not in today’s environment.


If you’re talking about operation of the plant, no.


Sherlock

pasoobserver: You are more right than you will ever know. I wish everyone in Paso could read your posting. App knew he was taking a HUGE chance when he had the CC approve the water deal. (I am sure Iris ok’d it). Borst is the only one who knew that the multi-million dollar water deal would require a mega multi million dollar water treatment plant. Without a vote! Let’s spend $75 million dollars WE DON’T HAVE on some dirty swamp water, full of vile things that most normal people won’t swim in! App was so arrogent, he pushed it forward anyways! Wait until the other 50% of the water pipeline / water treatment facility payment is scheduled to take effect in 2015: New construction! What happens when there is no new construction in 2015? Who pays for the other half of this fiasco? The City RESIDENTS, that’s who! Kelly Gearhart gambled with his lender’s money, App gambled with the public’s money. He gambled big and we lost! The Public’s Trust has been laid to waste. We need new management. Will the CC ever wake up? We need to move the CC meetings up to an earlier time in the evening. Those old guys are asleep at the wheel.


standup

I wonder why Paso didn’t do what Atascadero did. The water is infiltrated right back into the river where Atas. Mutual pumps it when they need it. Paso could have note the same thing possibly since we already have the pumps.


MaryMalone

Not every site is appropriate for that process. In addition, I would be very hesitant about putting Naciemento’s polluted water into an aquifer. Once an aquifer is polluted, that’s it. Humans cannot reverse the process.


pasoman

Look, by the time Borst started his law suit, it was over. We were committed. So, sometimes we just have to move on. That’s all I’m saying and that will be my perspective throughout all these posts.


Once the cards are delt, we just have to play them. I’m 100% behind the effort for change, but we can’t keep talking about what we “should” have done as a City, or what the CC “should” have done.


We have to talk about what we need to do now and going forward!


SanSimeonSam

They said the same thing with Gail Wilcox. It would be cheaper to pay the tax payer hush money than try and prosecute and jail them. Of course the supervisors and city managers are just wasting our money to cover their asses. On another note I wonder about the policemen in Paso…..Lets hope the bad guys don’t find out that our cops are complaining they were sexually assaulted by a woman.


MaryMalone

QUOTING SANSIMEONSAM: “On another note I wonder about the policemen in Paso…..Lets hope the bad guys don’t find out that our cops are complaining they were sexually assaulted by a woman.


And I thought Neanderthals had been left behind millennia ago!


Sexual harassment in the workplace has nothing to do with a person’s strength, height, weight, appearance, or anything else–except to the need of the person with more power abusing that power to target his subordinate(s) by the use of sex, threat of sex, and/or saying demeaning or inappropriate things about sex.


Discrimination based on gender is also called “sexual harassment.”


A female superior ordering her male subordinates into a hot-tub where she proceeds to grab their genitals is no different from a male superior ordering his female subordinates into a hot-tub where he then grabs their genitals.


chas

This is exactly why our country is in the tank and I don’t see the light yet.

Spending money in a huge irresponsible way like this makes me sick into my stomach especially if you consider how much it takes for me to earn a living. These local, state and nationwide political idiots are so far away from reality it’s sickening to watch how money is being wasted on crap like this.

In the private sector this blowjob specialist would have gotten one, maybe two month pay and be fired. case closed.


MaryMalone

I think anyone who believes that the PR city government, including App, are not getting some sort of kick-back for FAILS like the purchase of Naciemento water, are very, very naive.


There are many large companies which have, and will continue to, benefit from that one project. The water treatment plant will be another project which undoubtedly will have cronyism-fed kick-backs of some kind.


pasoman

Ok, let’s try this again….


I agree that the CC has made bad decisions. I further agree that when they are up for re-election they can and should be held accountable. But personal attacks and accusations of criminal activity are just not true.


The recent decision on Solomon was ridiculous. There was enough evidence that she couldn’t go back to work, but reading between the lines, Yang said it would too be costly if Solomon fought the termination. So I suspect that’s why the payoff. I think it’s a bad decision, but then again I didn’t see the investigation report so it’s easy to speculate.


But then they allowed App to sing her praises as she was escorted out the door. Are you kidding me? App should have just kept his mouth shut. Any Mayor worth having, would take charge and told App after the settlement was over to “keep your mouth shut”. But then again, our Mayor effectively works for App! LOL Not really funny…. Actually really sad.


So yes, hold them accountable, but be mature about it.


BTW Fred, you are always prepared and wll read at the meetings. But, you’d be MUCH more effective if you would listen more and talk less. and BTW, App and Yang must go. If not, you must go!


Cindy

Too costly? You mean it would cost $250K if Solomon fought the termination? I say B.S. They should have let her fight and if it was going to cost $250K++, that’s because they had the law firm from Bell who was having to make up for the money the citizens in that town sued them for. One thing Solomon was right about, they’re ****ing morons.


danika

Jim App was interviewed 2 days ago on KCOY when this story broke and was quoted as having said we are saving the money that would have gone to Lisa Solomon in way of a paycheck. So, we have paid (thus far) $330,000 to save HOW much of a paycheck?


Cindy

With 4 Officers swearing to the fact that she sexually assaulted them and at least 3 witnesses, they could have filed criminal charges on her and she would have been on unpaid administrative leave. Saving a pay check by paying out how much? My @$$.


MaryMalone

The witnesses can also file sexual harassment complaints with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and file lawsuits, as well.


Cindy

Yes the can. The witnesses are actually the ones who were sexually harassed. The victims were sexually assaulted.


MaryMalone

The victims were both sexually harassed and sexually assaulted. Worse, she retaliated against them when they complained.


I don’t know if the officers have already/are going to file with the DEFH, but they should. Perhaps that would help get the attention of the feds, as well as aid the officers.


pasoman

Please read my posts carefully. I never said I agreed with the decision to pay her off, I was just guessing how they came to that conclusion.


I think Jim and Iris give the CC bad advice, often. This in my opinion was just another example.


I agree with MM. Sexual harassment does not necessarily equal sexual assault (my words not MM). Part of “harassment” has to do with who’s in power. It doesn’t even have to involve acutall touching. AND if it involves retaliation, which people in power can do, that is the WORST kind.


Just because it was a man being harassed by a woman doesn’t excuse the behaivior.


If the City had a good record of training for SH prevention training and policy against it, and the former Chief had been involved, the City should have a good case. She would be the one taking the heat for knowingly violating City policy.


If the City did NOT have a good record of SH prevention training and policy, App should be FIRED. This is the 21st century for goodness sakes!


Paso_citizen

Did anyone happen to see the news item on KCOY Friday night concerning the $300K+ costs associated with Solomon’s exit? Our city manager said that probably many people think that the city is trying to ‘sweep this whole thing under the carpet’. Duh! Whatever could possibly make one to believe that?? Then, again, maybe this was just another of his “silly language” comments, such as

the ‘moles in the POA’ comments in several of his e-mails to Solomon. And when asked about the $71K in charges by Ms. Yang, this was the expenses for her to retrieve, read, and redact documents requested by citizens. Let’s see – $71K, divided by $165/hr (her hourly charge to Paso) comes out

to be 430+ hours devoted to this retrieval and redaction. Sure hope that includes the charges for the many black felt tip markers needed for all of that redaction!! And that this was charges stricltly for this, not her standard retainer fee. Just seems to me that there must be one humungous stack of documents pertaining to this, or she is a very slow reader and redactor.

And this ain’t all folks – remember Ms. Solomon has a very large workman’s comp claim against the city for phyiscial and mental stresses. My understanding is that workmans comp premiums are directly tied to the $ amount of claims over a three year period. If so, then the $300k+ so far spent will go much, much higher.


danika

Your understanding is correct, Paso_Citizen. The term for the charge/credit applied resulting from claims over a 5 year period is “Experience Modification”. The Xmod, as we call it, is adjusted by the Workers Comp Ins. Rating Bureau (WCIRB) for both frequent and severe claims. The City of Paso is self-insured and no info is held with the WCIRB.


Cindy

You’re so right danika, I have seen experience mods that can range from costing an employer twice the premium to paying half the premium. If one considers how high a PD would be rated to begin with, Solomon will literally cost many extra $1,000’s in premiums for her refusal to take responsibility for her own actions and the CC allowing her to “play” the victim. Anybody who thinks they (the CC) deserve another chance is either one of them or a family member.


Like I said in another post, I believe that the new CC needs to agree to investigate the out going CC after the elections. .


Cindy

Ooppppps, I didn’t read all of your post before I responded. The city is self insured……….Oh geeez, we’re all up the river, that means there will be no investigation into whether she is really damaged due to her job rather than her own actions. Perhaps once there is a new City Council, her “stress claim” can be revisited and denied.


danika

Okay, who made the comment that Fred Strong “loved to hear the sound of his own voice”?


Fred just sent me a loooooong email and is clearly upset over this.


Just wanted to pass along the message… : )


viamagnolia1

Ok Danika, I received the same letter. After I stopped laughingg , I asked myself WHAT? Where did this come from. I sent a reply to Mr Strong and told him I was confused. Why did he send this to me? He did answer and said “It was because a comment was made by someone who supports CPRN2012 and he wanted to respond”. Positive note here……. Council is readingCCN. Now why they want to hold CPRN2012 responsible for all comments made by the public is really the question we must ask them.


moderator

Fred or anyone can send me an email, copy past the comment time stamp and I will have a look and give you a reply, first rule of moderation: don’t make comments about moderation use email moderator@calcoastnews.com


pasoman

Hmmmm… LOL That would be me.


danika

Judging by my email exchanges yesterday, you are likely correct!


Sherlock

Most Borst haters are Staff members or CC members. Borst was trying to stop

the City from unreasonable water rate hikes and asked for more information than the City was willing to provide. Borst will turn out to be right in about 3 years, when new construction (what new construction?) fails to appear as the Swamy App has written / predicted. Paso-Scott: You sound like a City Councilman……Nick? Is that you? Fred? Is it you? I wonder…..For anyone to defend CC actions at this point in time on the Solomon issue means you either have your head buried in the sand or you have more information than the rest of us. If you are a CC member, share the info, or ask ex Chief Solomon to log on and “deep throat” it for us. I hear down at the station she’s pretty good at that…

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Change is good when the sitting CC defers every and all decisions to App. He walks around saying he is only responding to the wishes of the CC. What a bunch of MC-BS, paso-scott. You seem well informed but slanted to Staff and CC……….I think you letters lack the long-winded, over blown condensending know-it-all tone that Fred uses all day long and well into his sleep. I think you are Nick Gilman. If not, sorry….if so, Nick, we need you now more than ever.


paso-scott

I am not a council member.

I am a resident of Paso Robles.


Sherlock

I stand corrected. But you do sound alot like a CC member or a Staff member.


paso-scott

I don’t like people who ignore due process. Why does that make me sound like something I am not?

I don’ t like people who shout done others who disagree with their opinion. How does that make me sound?

I want answers from the people on this blog and the people at change paso. That should make me sound like a person who doesn’t agree with or see the issues the same.


pasoman

I’m not a CC member or a staff member, nor do I “hate” Borst. BUT……


He did no good for the City!


If you go away for a month, or two or three, and use NO water, do you think we, the owners of the City water systems have less operating expenses? Answer…. Very little. Why you may ask? Because our water system is largely a FIXED expense.


Due to Borst we watch water go by and still pay. The decision was made to join the pipeline, you may not agree, but at some point we have to move forward ’cause there ain’t no going’ back. We are all in this together, it’s our City.


pasojim

pasoman


We sit here and watch the water go by because of the poor planning of our city not because city citizens did what they are supposed to do and read the plan.


The idea that Borst or the over 3000 citizens (that voted on the election) had any control over the design of this wonderful system is ridiculous.


Because citizens want to be included in the decision on how a quarter of a billion dollars of their money is going to be spent and the best way to pay it back is NOT a bad thing.


This is still (barely) America, not some third world communist country. In light of what is currently happening in our government, we not only have the right to question what we are being told by our government, we also have the obligation to do so.


pasoman

Ok Paso Jim. Let’s say I agree with you.


So what’s your plan forward as we watch and pay for the water as it goes by.


It’s easy to rant and rave under fake names. And, on Monday morning we can tell the coach he should have run the ball or passed the ball, but it’s now mondya morning.


What’s your REAL game plan looking FORWARD?