Paso Robles police department accused of retaliation

January 25, 2013
Lisa Solomon

Lisa Solomon

By KAREN VELIE

A Paso Robles Police officer who filed a lawsuit against the city claiming the former chief initiated an illegal ticket quota scheme and punished officers who didn’t make their quotas filed a second retaliation claim against the city last week.

In the claim, Officer Jon Tatro says city administrators and interim Chief Robert Burton retaliated against him by making working conditions intolerable. Because of the alleged retaliation, Tatro resigned from the department in December.

“It is very hard to end my 26 years of service to the City of Paso Robles this way,” Tatro said. “I very much look forward to my day in court and I will let the outcome speak to the validity of my actions as compared to that of the administration.

“It has been my privilege to serve alongside so many great city employees. It has also been my honor to serve the great people of Paso Robles. I have made a lot of great friends within the community throughout my career and for that I will always be grateful.”

City manager Jim App responded to Tatro’s claim of retaliation by sending an email to City Attorney Iris Yang and Burton that said one word, “Predictable.”

For several years, Tatro had complained to city officials that command staff had mandated that each officer write at least 10 tickets a month, and preferably 14 or more, in order to avoid disciplinary action. Ticket quotas are illegal under state law, because they can pressure police to write bogus tickets to meet the goal.

Tatro’s original suit was the first in three actions filed in 2012 by present and former police officers against the city and scandal-plagued Chief Lisa Solomon-Chitty, who left her post March 20 packing a $250,000 payout from taxpayers.

In a suit filed in May, Brennan Lux accuses his former boss, Solomon-Chitty, of repeatedly making sexual advances toward him, and terminating him when she was rebuffed. The suit accuses city staff and officials of creating a hostile work environment and ignoring allegations of retaliation.

In July, former Paso Robles Police Department veteran David Hernandez filed a suit against the city alleging he was retaliated against by Solomon-Chitty for his union activities.

Claims lodged against the city which have been routinely dismissed by city officials, are precursors to filing of a lawsuit.

 


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Maxfusion

This requires a drastic, alas draconian, response. Two cups of saltpeter in Lisa’s hot tub.


justchuck

As long as there is a “peter” she will be happy.


slojustice

There is a long list of blame for this whole thing. Dennis Cassidy for hiring and shooting her through the ranks to the city council who did not do their due diligence when hiring her. And the following councils for tolerating her well known behavior. App works for the council he does what he is told, maybe not.


MaryMalone

QUOTING SLOJUSTICE: “Dennis Cassidy for hiring and shooting her through the ranks to the city council who did not do their due diligence when hiring her.


The “due dilligence” comment is especially true.


The same kind of “due dilligence” for Solomon’s police chief appointment was exhibited by the current city council for the appointment of Manny Guaderrama.


I think this indicates the PR city government doesn’t make these horrible appointments for any other reason than they are looking for that kind of cronyfied, abuse-of-power-willing police chief.


Either that, or the council members are just too stupid to learn from mistakes.


Either way, EVERY ONE who voted for Guaderrama needs to be recalled.


standup

If these ticket quotas are true, Lisa and Burton need to go to jail for it. Some of these tickets not only cost the receiver money from the actual ticket but they could have increased insurance rates, etc. In some cases, people could have racked up enough points to potentially lose their license. Then lose their job since they could not get to work. I still can’t believe that the city hired that disgusting, unqualified chitty,chitty bang bang for the chief.


The Gimlet Eye

Not much good comes from government, does it?


Paso_citizen

I happen to befieve that I was one one of those who got caught in this ticket quota system.

Cost me over $225 in fine, plus about $100 a year more in car insurance premium for 4 years.


Obviouosly, I can not prove this, so I am like the others – suck it up and shut up – except I choose not to shut up. The PR police department has been corrupt for a long time – maybe even before Cassidy.


There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that all that has taken place over past several years

has all the signs of a city government and police department that has done, and will continue to do, whatever they want – whenever they want.


I can only hope and pray that these lawsuits filed against Paso Robles go to full trial with jury. An open court trial is the only way some of the details will ever come out.


But my money says otherwise – The Phat Bald Guy (his words, not mine) and his 100% controlled CC will not allow this to happen. They will settle out of court, costing PR citizens several thousand more of our tax dollars. My money is also on the belief that Mr. Robert Burton will the selected as the next Police Chief. Who else is more suited to continue the practices that have and are taking place?

First Cassidy, then Chitty Bang Bang, then Burton – three in a row. In bowling they call that a Turkey,

in Paso Robles they call it business as usual.


The Gimlet Eye

Not if the queen of battle shows up–the taxpayer, and she refuses to foot the bill! PR is looking more and more like the City of Bell. File criminal charges against these creeps and put them on the hot seat!


south

Don’t forget Nelson who ordered his officers to write radar tickets on 24th. Street even though it had not been surveyed (as required). His instructions were if the person pled not guilty, the officer was not to show up as a witness.


Bad management in the PD goes back a long way.


danika

Change can ONLY happen when the people care enough to truly become involved in it. I implore all of you citizens and business owners of Paso reading this, step up and DO something to envoke the change needed. Paso Robles needs you to.


pasoparent5

PLEASE Officer Tatro. I’ve implored you to go to trial before but even now more that you’ve resigned. Do NOT SETTLE with App and Yang. PLEASE do not go quietly and settle out of court. If you’re being truthful–which I believe you are–then go all the way to trial so all this #(%# can go public and the truth can come out about Chittygate. We want to see Lisa, Jim Phat Bald Guy App and others testify under oath.


oldbrown

I agree with you pasoparent but this whole mess could have been avoided had the city hired a qualified police chief rather than focusing on “diversity” during the hiring process.


pasoparent5

^^I agree 100%, oldbrown. Shame on the councilmen, city manager and community members who propped Lisa up as some wodnerful candidate for Paso’s first female top cop. Her reputation was tarnished BEFORE she became chief yet all facts were brushed aside just so we could get some token female “diversity” chief. No other applicants were considered; App & the councilmen just gave her the job.


Now look where we are, 5+ years later. Without a strong, ethical, competent police chief, our city is more vulnerable than ever. So attention applicants: if you, too, like to lose your loaded gun, file for bankruptcy, wear sweats to work, AND get accused of groping and sexually harassing your subordinates…YOU have a chance to become Paso’s next police chief!


Pelican1

Better yet, they could have avoided the whole mess if Mr. App were not the City Manager.


MaryMalone

Don’t blame a “diversity program” for the poor judgment of the city council members and the city manager.


She was unqualified to be an LEO, and certainly should never have been police chief.


I think the only qualifications the city council members and the city manager were focused on were her bazooms and her knee-pads.


justchuck

If those people have to testify, you will have more “fifths” than a giant liquor warehouse.


seesfarther

“make the cost personal”


Absolutely. A very good point is made here.


It makes no sense (to me anyway) that the TAXPAYERS get the shaft for the wrongdoings of individuals in power. If individuals are operating outside the policies of an agency in which they are employed, those same individuals should pay the costs of any penalties.


pasoparent5

LOL Tell that to Lisa. She already got $250K because her poor little reputation was tarnished. Plus she gets a fat pension for life. She “operated outside the policies” of proper police etiquette before AND after she was anointed top cop. WE got the shaft from her and we’ll get it again when App leaves.


MaryMalone

Ex-Mayor Rizzo, City of Bell, thought he had a pension for life, too.


However, he is now on trial for his fraud while mayor of Bell and, if convicted, he will get NO pension or any other benefits.


The ticket-quota program was a Paso Robles policy. Therefore, it had to be approved by the city council members and the city manager.


Get them to trial for this illegal policy and, if convicted, they might just face some prison time and may also lose any benefits from PR they have accrued.


south

Policy is set by department heads, not the manager or the council. Solomon was the chief. So it was solely her policy. If both Burton and Solomon were instituting an illegal policy, then they should be prosecuted by the AG. Furthermore, all tickets written under the policy should be stricken.


IronHub

Sorry, south… City Manager Jim App was instrumental in formulating and authorizing the ticket quota policy. Emails to and from him prove that beyond any doubt.


The Gimlet Eye

The someone needs to file criminal charges against that rascal and put him on the hot seat. The alternative being, resign now, no pension, no settlement, no nothing, just go in disgrace. Fight this too long, and the second alternative goes away and you face prosecution no matter what.


MaryMalone

In my experience, how it works is like this:


1. The city council comes up with, or accepts from another entity, an idea for a policy.


2. The city council then gives to the city manager rough, nonspecific instructions about what they want in the policy to, and instructs the city manager to develop a rough draft and then return it to the city council for tweaking. At this point, the assignment to the city manager can either occur in a committee or in a city council meeting.


3. The city manager meets with appropriate managers and staff members, or contracts out part or all of the development of the policy to a contractor, then reviews whatever these people bring back.


4. The city manager then puts the info together and twists it to suit his/her own needs, then sends it back to the managers/staff/contractor so they can review the city manager’s revisions to make sure the city manager didn’t make an @ss of him/herself by putting something so stupid into the draft that the world will know he/she doesn’t really know what he/she is doing.


5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 ad nauseum, until the CITY MANAGER is happy with the draft AND the staff/consultants/managers are relatively certain it doesn’t make the city manager and the staff/consultants/managers look like nincompoops.


6. Along the way, city legal counsel will have (hopefully) reviewed it.


4. Once the city manager, legal counsel, and staff/consultants/managers have signed off on the policy, then it is submitted to the city council and/or committee for a public review and meeting. (If the request for the policy came through a committee, the rough draft will go for review to committee first, then the committee will have a public opinion where the public has input, then the committee may have to send it back to the city manager for revisions, before the committee can sign off on it…THEN it can be submitted to the city council at a public meeting, which can add an extra few months to the policy development process.)


5. At the council meeting, depending on how big of a fit public attendees have made about the contents of the policy, the council members (or committee leader) may send the policy draft BACK to the city manager for further tweaking. If this occurs, the city manager may call in the appropriate people/committee/consultants/staff, etc. to help him make the changes. It will go to the city legal counsel again to sign off on.


6. When everybody is happy with the policy, and the public quits showing up at the meetings to complain about it, then the city council will vote on it. At this point–if it is a policy the council actually wants enacted and they haven’t been going through this whole mess just to put on a public show to keep the public happy–the vote is usually a majority to accept the policy.


7. The city council then instructs the city manager to take the steps necessary to enact the policy. This usually includes a formal resolution, at least.


So, while Jim App may have control on how the policy shapes up, he cannot enact it himself. It is ONLY the city council members who can vote to approve a policy.


Tammy

Exactly right! They know what they are doing and doing it anyway. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to payout at all.


The Gimlet Eye

I strongly agree, seesfarther. I think it’s obvious that a lot of structural changes need to be made in PR city government. But who will make this happen?


What you PR folks need is a good tax revolt. Plus, draw up a completely new city charter with the necessary changes, demand that they be adopted immediately, or you will REFUSE TO PAY YOUR TAXES. Tell them hell no, turn your backs on them and walk away from them. Drop out.


What do you have to lose? PR is already broke!


Playing musical chairs with these people is not going to accomplish anything. They obviously have no intention of rectifying these problems and don’t give a damn what any of you think about them.


Peaceful NON-COOPERATION is the ultimate weapon.


Pelican1

~Be It Proclaimed~

Whereas,

The City of Paso Robles shall hereby be renamed

Whereas,

The City’s Manager has been a pillar of strength in all area’s of decision making

Whereas,

the city Manager has led by example

Whereas,

The City Manager has always put the welfare of others before himself

Now Therefore, we the citizens of Paso Robles to hereby proclaim our city to henceforth

be known as:

App A Robles, California

January, 25, 2013

In Witness Whereof

The citizens of App A Robles


CONCERNEDINPR

It’s been a while since I’ve posted in this forum but when I see the head puppeteer, Jim App, hard at work behind the scenes micro-managing and manipulating virtually every aspect of our city government, I get upset. Mr. App needs to go. He needs to go now. Paso Robles deserves better.


MaryMalone

If you’re going to name it after App, you better put a “CR” in front of the “App.”


MaryMalone

A couple of LA LEOs were awarded $MILLIONS because they were forced to perform in an illegal ticket-quota policy.


I wish Mr. Tatro the same kind of success. The only way to get rid of those who supported and enabled the Solomon-App junta to successfully exist is to make the cost personal.


In most situations, there is a “wall” between the board or city council that sets policy/makes decisions and the city manager/general manager who enacts it. Most local government agencies are pretty vigilant about maintaining that “wall” because it protects the council or board members from being involved in a complaint that results from the council/board’s decisions.


However, I bet if Mr. Tatro spent enough time going through city emails, he and his attorney could find enough evidence to breach that wall.


Mr. Tatro’s resistance to act illegally in the line of duty, even though it was department policy, must have been a huge pain in the kiester for both the city manager and the city council. If Mr. Tatro can find enough evidence that shows that members of the city council directly instructed the city manager to get rid of Tatro–especially if the instructions included instructing the city manager to do whatever it takes–then the members of the city council can probably be named in the complaint or lawsuit.


There is a case involving a local government agency’s board’s members where this strategy is in play.


If you want to bring real change to the leadership of Paso Robles, turn up the heat on those making, and carrying out, the policies which have caused the PR citizens so much in $$$ and other resources.


justchuck

Hopefully App’s resignation or ouster is ”PREDICTABLE”.


Pelican1

Without of course, any kind of “Bang Bang” buyout.


pasoparent5

Unfortunately, when Jim Bald Phat Guy App does decide to leave his post–whether he’s fired [unlikely], resigns, retires, or whatever–he WILL also receive a hefty $200+K payout because he already negotiated that into his contract. He’s a crafty little guy, that’s for sure! He could care less about our roads, Centennial Park being closed for two summers in a row, increased gang activity, etc. He’ll retire/resign fat, happy AND rich.


The Gimlet Eye

Not if the taxpayers refuse to pay for it? You can’t get blood out of a turnip!


MaryMalone

It shouldn’t be assumed that App is going to get his pension when he retires.


If–like City of Bell’s ex-mayor Rizzo, who is now on trial for his illegal activities while mayor of Bell–App is charged and convicted of crimes committed while doing his duties as city manager of Paso Robles, he will get no pension or other benefits.