Former Paso Robles officer claims retaliation

July 16, 2012

Paso Robles Public Safety Building

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

A former Paso Robles police department veteran has filed a claim with the city alleging he was retaliated against by former chief Lisa Solomon-Chitty for his union activities.

Such a claim, routinely dismissed by city officials, is a precursor to filing of a lawsuit.

This is the third action filed in recent months by present and former police officers against the city and scandal-plagued Solomon-Chitty, who left her post March 20 packing a $250,000 payout from taxpayers.

David Hernandez was president of the Paso Robles Police Officers Association (POA) when, according to the claim, Solomon began a series of actions which ultimately led to Hernandez’ resignation from the department.

Hernandez was the POA’s principal negotiator during 2011 contract talks, at a time when city representatives were asking officers to give up a 6 percent pay hike they already had deferred. The department was shorthanded at the time, but Solomon was adding a new sergeant in lieu of an additional patrol officer.

Hernandez, “in his capacity as POA president,” raised the issue to Paso Robles City Manager Jim App during a public meeting: “How could the city justify another sergeant hire when the police officers desperately needed help in the patrol ranks… where the sergeant would not work,” according to the claim.

Following that incident, Hernandez said he was told by two police administrators that Solomon-Chitty “was very upset with him for making… the remarks (to App.)”

Then, in June 2011, Hernandez said in his claim that he wanted to verify city officials’ claims that they, too, had forgone pay raises. He obtained through a public information request copies of employment contracts for App, Solomon-Chitty and other high-ranking officers in the police department.

With those documents, Hernandez discovered that each of the individuals for whom he had obtained contract information had been receiving an average payment of $6,500 into a deferred compensation account. With this information, Hernandez noted in his claim, he was “able to negotiate a better contract for the POA.”

Again, he said, he was warned by higher-ups that his activities “had drawn the ire” of Solomon-Chitty and others.

In late September 2011, Hernandez was “served with an internal affairs investigation for (allegedly) cursing” at a drunken man he was transporting to jail, and “driving at a high rate of speed.” The following day, Hernandez was called to back up a foot chase between fellow officers and a fleeing suspect. After department brass studied the officer’s vehicle videotaping system, he was placed on administrative leave for three months. Then, when he was informed that, following an unpaid suspension, he would be required to take a battery of psychological tests, Hernandez resigned.

“It was clear that (the city) was doing everything it could to try to force him from his job,” according to the claim. “Solomon-Chitty retaliated against Hernandez for exercising his First Amendment rights.”

No specific monetary demands were made in the claim.

Solomon-Chitty’s final days at the police department helm were tumultuous as complaints against her for a variety of alleged offenses, many of a sexual nature, began to surface.

In May, Brennan Lux, another former Paso Robles police officer, filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging Solomon-Chitty made repeated sexual advances toward him, and terminated him when she was rebuffed.

After a two-year investigation, CalCoastNews reported January 12 on Solomon-Chitty’s alleged sexual conduct with, and in the presence of, department subordinates, including Lux and numerous others. Previously, CalCoastNews published reports of Solomon-Chitty’s public behavior in local saloons, where she sometimes danced on bars, and described herself as “an entertainer.”

Additional allegations made publicly include those made by Officer T.J. McCall, who told a city investigator that Solomon-Chitty grabbed his penis while he sat in her car.

Hernandez, too, has said Solomon-Chitty touched him inappropriately. In 2007, Hernandez and another officer in full uniform entered a saloon then called the Crooked Kilt, to do a bar check.

Solomon, who had been out on the dance floor, approached Hernandez in a room full of people and allegedly pushed the officer’s face into her breasts.

A current officer, Jon Tatro, filed a pending lawsuit against Solomon-Chitty and city officials, claiming the former chief initiated an illegal ticket quota scheme and punished officers who didn’t make their quotas.


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Citizen

Hernandez was an excellent police officer. I look forward to the day that we can run Lisa Solomon out of town on a rail, and give Jim App his walking papers. Enough of these two bozos.


MaryMalone

ITA, Citizen, especially with the running of Solomon out of town on a rail part.


I note also that you continue to use the name she used when she committed her crimes–“Solomon.” I also agree with this approach.


Right after she resigned, in her attempt to reinvent herself, she started using the name “Chitty.” Obviously, distancing herself from the name “Lisa SOLOMON” is to her advantage. There is so much bad stuff linked to that name, if she can get people to help her do reinvent herself–by joining her in establishing her new “Chitty” identity–she might just pull it off.


If she reestablishes herself as “Lisa Chitty,” as the years pass, the scandal will be harder to link to her, especially as current residents move away and new residents move to Paso Robles.


Before we know it, she will be 50 years old and ready to start sucking up that retirement money.


We saw how she dropped her workers compensation claim because of all of the outrage by the local citizens. That outrage was very vocal because it was fresh and her identity was still crisp and clear in the minds of the PR residents and voters.


However, when she turns 50, if she’s been successful in distancing herself from her many scandals, especially by distancing herself from the name “Lisa Solomon,” it will be difficult to get the public involved enough to push an effective protest.


So I really appreciate the fact that you continue to call her by the name under which she accrued so much scandal: Lisa Solomon.


Paso_citizen

And on it goes… One more example of the fine work that was done by our ‘fantastic’ CC and city manager. If you really want to force a change, then you MUST vote to change the CC this November.

The only way to get rid of Jimmy App is to get a CC with some backbone. No matter what, the cost to this city and to its citizens will be great – but we MUST take our city back. To all those that read this story and have read the many previous stories about the whole police chief debacle – the plan of action should be clear. Find 5 other people who have not read or do not know much about it and do everything possible to be sure they learn and understand exactly what happened and what continues to happen. Then have each of those 5 people find 5 more people and do the same thing. It should be the #1 job of every decent citizen of this city to make sure as many voting citizens know everything about this whole sordid affair and to get them to realize that the only way to change it is to vote out the current CC.

Should there by any doubt as to what the CC wants the added sales tax revenue for? The final cost of all the lawsuits pending (or yet to be filed) against this city is unknown, but will surely be in the several million range. Fixing our streets doesn’t have an ice cubes chance in a warm place of every being done.


pasoparent5

I just read your comment Paso_citizen…I promise I just didn’t copy what you said! I agree 100%. The final cost is unknown but the CC, App and Yang absolutely want that money for the general fund. They could care less about opening Centennial Pool, re-hiring library staff, putting more cops on patrol, or fixing our embarrassing streets.


The Gimlet Eye

The expressions is, “couldn’t care less.” The verb is supposed to be in the negative form. It’s a common error, but it does grate.


dante0182

Paso Robles poor management tactics reminds me of Arroyo Grande.


pasoman

Folks-


We just as well get over it and open up our bank accounts. Our City Fathers will be giving Jim App a fine appraisal behind closed doors tomorrow night, and they actually think he’s doing a good job. Just find one of your CC members and ask them for yourselves. They just gave him a raise for goodness sakes.


It’s over and done. No one seems interested enough to run, we are cooked.


thinkaboutit

Not so fast, pasoman.


One candidate is making an official announcement very soon, and this one’s more than qualified to run.


You heard it *here* first: http://www.martinforcouncil.com/


Disgusted

I’m not from PR, but if this candidate ran in my city, I’d be enthused. I hope he’s as good as he sounds on his site. There is plenty of hope for PR if this is a trend.


MaryMalone

For heaven’s sake, the date for candidates being allowed to file to run for a position was just a few days ago!


cynicalatbest

Narcissism….And souless…..


dante0182

I hope you do not mean the officer.


pasoparent5

After reading cynical’s comment, the first two names that come to mind are Lisa and Jim.


Ted Slanders

Well, as if “Chitty chitty bang-bang, and bang some more” hasn’t gotten her teats in a ringer enough, here is another lawsuit filed against the city of Paso Robles in her behalf. Who will pay for this one? Oh yeah, the taxpayers again.


I like Mr. Holly’s ATM machine concept. Facetiously, why not just have access to all of the Paso Robles citizen’s bank accounts, where at the first of the month, an allotted amount will be withdrawn from said accounts to pay for her actions?


If I remember correctly, there’re more lawsuits forthcoming. Chain up Paso Robles, while Miss Lisa is enjoying umbrella drinks in Cabo at your expense.


Looks like SLO has their own pay outs forthcoming with the newly derived Adam Hill debacle. When will it ever end? When the citizenship becomes intellectually involved!


cynicalatbest

TS…you are a fraud. Probably norskemann from the Trib LTE’s….


Ted Slanders

cynicalatbest,


You’re assuming as premise the conclusion in which you wish to reach without any foundational facts. Take your childish circular reasoning elsewhere. Maybe a children’s forum would be more apropos for you? Sure it would.


BeenThereDoneThat

Again not only does Lisa’s name come up as usual so does Jim App. If all of this come to fruition (in court) and is found true, we the people of Paso Robles should accept nothing less than Jim Apps resignation.


Mr. Holly

Looks like Paso Robles ought to just set up an ATM machine in the lobby of the police station. Appears that Chitty was having a good time at the expense of us taxpayers. And now Paso wants to tax/license massage parlors. Sounds like they are a little too late for Chitty, she got paid for it while others will be taxed for it. Seems like Paso Robles has already condoned these activities. Let the good times roll.


pasoparent5

*sigh* Yet another chapter in the Chittygate saga. How Lisa can show her face in public is beyond me.


The Gimlet Eye

He one advantage is that she doesn’t have to look at it.


The Gimlet Eye

Her