Paso Robles to spend $20,000 for chief search

May 2, 2012

Paso Robles City Council  members voted unanimously Tuesday evening to hire an outside head-hunter firm to find a new chief of police.

City officials agreed to hire the Los Gatos firm of  William Avery and Associates at a cost of almost $20,000 to find a replacement for former chief Lisa Solomon. Following allegations of sexual assaults, illegal ticket quotas, and manipulation of crime statistics, Solomon resigned in April.

Several officers contend the city is still operating in an unsafe manner under Capt. Robert Burton, who they said should be replaced until a new chief is hired in about six to eight months.

For example, during several days in April, of the 20 people working for the police department, only two where assigned to answer calls for the city. Generally, dispatchers receive 40 to 75 calls a night.

One acting chief
Two lieutenants
Two sergeants
Two dispatchers
Two code enforcement employees
Three detectives
Five to six support staff employees
And only two patrol officers to answer calls for the city of approximately 30,000.


pp5- I came from the Silicon Valley where the cost of living is high but the salaries and benefits are in line. HR always recruited candidates from outside the area. That was just part of their job. My comment was not about hiring within. It was just focused on the search for a new candidate. it seems like everytime I read any agendas or resolutions, we are always paying an outside organization to do a study, impact, or cost analysis. Why do we do this? Do we not have anyone in the city organization that is qualified to do this? We are paying 16 million dollars, if not why not? I’m just saying…….


Promote from within… always good for morale…. and you save money too.


If the Department was not dysfunctional secondary to years of poor leadership, I would agree.

However, since Paso Robles has been about cronied to death at this point, promoting from within would just further institutionalize the dysfunction.


Sorta brings to mind that scene from the movie ‘Deliverance’, where Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, and Ned Beatty come across this hillbilly clan and them playing ‘dueling banjos’ Paso Robles’ city government is giving the hillbillies a run for the money as to the effects of severe



CPRN2012 should make a formal request to the Paso Robles City Council to allow a mutually acceptable CPRN2012 representative to take part in this employment search. CPRN2012 should also encourage the city council to select other private citizens (and not just insiders!) from the City of Paso Robles to take part.

Personnel issue or not, Paso Robles City Government has lost credibility and the peoples’ trust. In all sincerity it appointed Lisa Solomon as chief when there is no way it should have. Soliciting real input from non-insiders would not only help to build trust, it would also help to ensure that such an egregious hiring mistake is not made in the future.


I absolutely agree. CPRN2012 deserves a seat at the table. Someone has to represent the best interests of the people of PR, and we know it won’t be the City Council, City Manager, or any other PR officials.


Crusader, an excellent idea!

I ask each of you who support this idea to please send an email to Jim App and Duane Picanco, requesting they contact us for consideration of this request. Don’t be shy, take action! We need your support…


In all fairness to the City, it is not unusual for any City to hire key City positions through a recruiting firm. My only concern would be Mr. Apps connection to this firm to control the recruiting process. The Council should have stepped forward and taken a VERY active role in this recruitment and not have Mr. Apps involved in it because it will be the picking of us choice and look at what we have now running this City, an inept human resource director who should be fired at first light, a contracted City Attorney and a backup that can’t be trusted, a planning director who does not stand up to Mr. App or the council and their friends, etc. etc. etc. What zoo do these people belong in…Certainly not Paradise!


The fact that it a search firm is being used, IMO, is not the issue.

The problem is the search firm is a company PR has worked with since 1981–a.k.a. crony–was chosen in a no-bid contract.

Otherwise, ITA with your post.

Cronyism breeds inbred incompetence, and inbred incompetence breeds poor performance.

We’ve already seen what kind of piece of incompetent trash App thinks is qualified to be police chief. He’s already proven himself to be a failure at making a competent choice.

The fact that App thinks the crony search firm is the best one to do the job, IMO, should immediately disqualify the search firm from getting the contract.


Are you kidding? Look what happened the last time City HR handled recruiting this position.

Our City HR is not qualified for this search.

According Grand Jury the The City HR is not handling or keeping current it’s own personnel rules.

If $20K gets us good ethical leadership, it’s a good spend.

As pointed out in earlier comments, the initial $250K, “Shut up Money” is the tip of the ice burg. We are going to be paying dearly for “Chittygate” a long time.


If the search firm used is one of App’s long-time cronies, a firm which has been doing business with PR since 1981, then App will be controlling the reins and influencing the search.

The first thing that has to go in PR, IMO, is cronyism. Cronyism is the source for the majority of the problems hanuting PR.


Question: Was William Avery Firm involved in vetting Lisa Solomon for the Police Chief position? They have been contracted with Paso Robles city since 1981.

I attended the council meeting last night. It was obvious to anyone breathing the council had already decided to contract with WAA&A before the meeting began. Presentation to the community was nothing more than a formality.


Well, if the “William Avery Firm” also employs former Paso police chief Dennis Cassidy, city mgr Jim App and some former city councilmen, then yeah, I guess that’s how Lisa was “vetted.” ;)


That’s how it goes, Danika, in most local area governments.

The city manager (general manager, etc.) makes a recommendation to the CC (or board of directors) after having conferred individually with the city council members in different situations: either privately or in committee meetings, where usually one council member heads the committee.

The manager then prepares his staff note about the issue, in which the manager just regurgitates what the CC or BOD has told him/her to recommend.

There are usually no surprises regarding the content of the staff notes, and the manager’s recommendation is usually accepted.

To get a CC decision different than what has already been decided upon (i.e., what is in the contents of the staff note), the public has to raise a real stink before and at the meeting. If you wait until the meeting, however, it is usually too late.

If you are taken by surprise on an issue you wish to oppose which is presented at the CC meeting, hammer at them to consider it further and vote on it at the next meeting. That will give you time to rally the troops for a more strident public voice on the subject at the next meeting.


True words, MM. I have attended many CC meetings since forming and I have yet to see them vote anything down. They have consistantly said “AYE” all the way around on every item for vote.

We do need to start putting pressure on them before the meetings.


Actually, this is probably the best move the city has made in quite a while. They need to bring someone in from the OUTSIDE and repair /rebuild the PD. Internal HR would not be able to conduct an search to bring in talent from outside.

I do agree that $250K hush money they paid Lisa could’ve been spent much more wisely.

I hope we Paso Roblans keep the momentum and keep the pressure on the status quo – we need 3 new council members/new city manager for a new path. Paso deserves so much more.


However, if App and the city council are running the selection process (which is what is happening when they send it out on a no-bid deal), then the result is not going to be much better than what they got with Solomon.


That is the big question, isn’t it. Is the consulting firm truly independent and free from subtle “instructions” by App and the Council? The answer, if it is ever revealed, will also show the degree of arrogance of the aforementioned officials.

If the firm does an objective and competent job of finding a new chief, it means that App and his puppets have come to realize that they are not going to get away with their crony games at this time. If it doesn’t, then they are so confident that they can continue to con enough of the citizens of PR to maintain their status quo that they can ignore the noise-making “rabble” found in places like this website.

Ted Slanders

If Paso Robles has to go this route and spend the 20k, then take it off of Lisa Solomon’s 250k hush money payout, since she is the impetus of having to find a new Chief in the first place!


Usually HR does recruiting for open positions. Why can’t the City HR handle this without paying 20K?


tsk, tsk, viamagnolia. The all-wise Jim App has spoken and HE knows best. Apparently the rest of us are just fools.

“KSBY asked App why the city doesn’t just hire from within the ranks. He said in years past, they were criticized for promoting from within. “You don’t want to make the mistake. You don’t want people who are busy doing too many other things,” said App…” [KSBY website 5/1/12]

Poor guy. He’s too busy. And the other city administrators & city councilmen & police lieutenants are just tooooo busy to interview viable candidates for the job of new police chief. Of course it’s OK that App’s spending another $20K out of OUR taxpayer money + another $250K for Chittygate….that’s a heck of a lot of cash but after all, App knows best…right?

Who cares about Centennial Pool anyway… or our pathetic roads & streets… or the maintenance of our city parks, sidewalks, etc…

We all must shut up, stop thinking, stop questioning and just obey City Mgr Jim App, Mayor Mayor (“uh…that’s news to me…”) Picanco and our other fearless leaders here in Darn Near Paradise.