Jerry Jones seeks Paso Robles council seat
September 21, 2012
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
With an eye on greater transparency in City Hall, longtime resident Jerry Jones filed Friday as a write-in candidate for Paso Robles city council.
He joins two other challengers, Jim Reed and Steve Martin, in the quest for a pair of council seats occupied by incumbents Fred Strong and Nick Gilman, both of whom will seek reelection. Mayor Duane Picanco remains unopposed.
Jones acknowledged inherent challenges of running as a write-in candidate. He said he decided to make his bid because he is “disturbed” by recent actions of present council members and top city staff.
He pointed specifically to the manner in which the council handled the Lisa Solomon-Chitty controversy. The former chief of police departed city employment earlier this year after being accused by subordinate officers of inappropriate sexual behavior, retaliation, and illegal management practices.
The council followed the advice of City Manager James App and City Attorney Iris Ping Yang and paid Solomon-Chitty $250,000 to “retire” after she claimed to have been professionally discredited by a string of unchallenged reports of her conduct on this web site.
To this day, no council member has made a single public comment on the situation.
“The Lisa thing was a debacle. Those kinds of things really bother me,” said Jones.
Then he learned that “four out of five of them (present city council members) would fall on the sword for him (App). I figured I could moan about it all I want, but I really needed to do something,” said Jones, who recently retired.
“City managers who have been in their job for six or more years have accumulated too much power,” Jones added. App has been the city’s top employee for 15 years.
Jones has been a resident of Paso Robles since 1944, with a stint in the Navy and a lengthy history of civic activities. He was vice president and director of legislative affairs for the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, and the chamber’s liaison with the county; and past chair of the Agri-Business Tour. He’s a retired member of the American Society of Safety Engineers.