Robert Burton offered Paso Robles chief position

May 14, 2013
Capt. Robert Burton

Capt. Robert Burton


Capt. Robert Burton has reportedly been selected to be the next chief of the Paso Robles Police Department, according to police sources.

Burton is acting chief and has been leading the department for nearly a year since the scandal-plagued departure of Lisa Solomon-Chitty from the top cop’s job in March 2012.

Several former Paso Robles Police officers accused Solomon-Chitty of sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment and initiated an illegal ticket quota scheme.

Two separate, extensive national searches have attracted 103 candidates and culled out at least three leading contenders for the job, but none apparently have been willing to accept the position.

During the first round, Burton said he did not want the $160,000 job and did not participate.

The first leading candidate was Manuel “Manny” Guaderrama, a 29-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department, who accepted, and then declined, the position late last year.

After that, city officials initiated another search, this time attracting 43 candidates including Burton.

A panel of citizens and city officials interviewed finalists April 5. According to sources, the top two candidates in the most recent search effort have rejected the opportunity, both for “personal reasons.”

Burton’s selection will make for the third internal recruitment of a Paso Robles Chief.

Human Resources Director Marlene Sanders said the city has “no comment on the search for the chief of police.”


This is SO depressing I can’t believe it. Consistently promoting from within is insestuous and guarantees the same mentality continues. It’s truly sad we have another one of Apps soldiers promoted.

Regarding Lisa… Two possibilities:

1) Burton didn’t know. If not he should have known as it was common knowledge.

2) Burton did know and didn’t say anything. If so, he is guilty by omission.

In either case, he doesn’t deserve the job!

Lisa’s behavior not only was wrong, it’s illegal. He should have stepped up and blown the whistle on that mess! His behavior isn’t what you would expect from a future police chief!

App HAS TO GO, but how do we do it.


I feel sorry for the people of PASO , WHY would you put one of the GOOD OLE BOYS in the CHIEFS POSITION , hes of the same class of what you just got rid of , its a wonder the rank and file dont MUTINY , what a fri—- joke , you deserve what you let happen , you have an unqualified person in the position


Cindy, in other words, never begin a post saying, “In all fairness…” on this site. You will be deemed a naive, know-nothing who clearly doesn’t have the inside scoop.


That App approved of Burton as Police Chief indicates that Burton remained silent when the illegal activities and sexual harassment of officers by their chief was occuring. App would not allow Burton to be chief if he had challenged, in any way, Solomon/App.

Burton, by his silence, was at least a tacit participant in attempted coverup of Solomon’s behavior and policies.

I am starting to wonder…WHY did Burton remain silent?

Did he have a history of being a sexual partner with Solomon? It seems like she tried to make her way through the ranks of her subordinates, so it is a possibility.


And we have to pay, this same ole’ same ole’ Burton $160.000 because ?.???.?? No relocation fee needed, no selling/buying of a new home, no changes for the family, etc. there should be a clause in the recruiting process if this is in house, the salary will be 10% above current salary. Oh yea, I forgot, app and all department heads will benefit from this because now their salaries have to be on par. SO, the taxpayers just get more of the same s$!t with an office assistant leading the troops. Maybe the officers should pick their leadership, apps does!


No competent candidate would take the job working under Jim App’s thumb. So what we get is someone who will take orders from App, and bumble along. Barton’s experience is limited mainly to office duty with very little patrol (on the street) experience), or gang suppression experience. Hope for the best, but expect the worst.


The problem is that any Police Chief will be working for Jim App as App is the city manager and he is directly in charge of overseeing the PD. It will always be this way until the CC replaces the city manager.

Perhaps the reason that Paso is unable to obtain the candidates of their choosing is because those candidates don’t want to come into a new position and work under the infamous Jim App. All any of them have to do is to google the name of the previous chief and it’s all out there including everything that everybody had to say about the CC and App complete with all the cartoons to boot! I wouldn’t want to take the job either if I were looking for a new venue.

Mr. Holly

You would think that anyone would take the job. All you have to do is work for a couple of years and then quit instead of getting fired, retire with benefits and collect your $250,000 walking cash. Where do I sign up? App or no App the benefits are too good to pass up.


It would be most interesting to know if any ex-parte communication occurred between the city manager, council and Bang Bang prior to the selection.


And so it goes… The good ol’ boy network is alive and well in Paso Robles.

Paso PD needs a fresh start under some new, unbiased leadership. Yet City Manager Jim App & the cowardly councilmen feel this is the BEST Paso can do?!

Is this why Paso paid thousands to a recruiting firm…so we could just get a guy who was Lisa Solomon Chitty’s righthand man? This is not surprising but so disappointing.

Burton seems like a nice guy but this whole complete sham of a selection process took over a year and the outcome is another “don’t-rock-the-boat-but-do-what-Jim-App-says” kind of police chief.


I agree. A fresh start is in order.

But how can there be a “fresh start” when Paso still has the same City Manager who allowed (and helped cover up) illegal PD policies and sexual harassment by Solomon of her subordinates.

As far as selecting a police chief, it seems the priorities of App and at least a majority of the City Council are rooted in finding a candidate who will not stand up against anything App wants to do, even if it involves some of the illegal behaviors and policies Solomon initiated when she was police chief.

I do disagree with the idea that Burton is a “nice guy.” Nice guys don’t look the other way and remain silent when illegal activities are going on, especially when their fellow officers are being sexually harassed by the police chief.


This is actually a good thing for Paso when compared to the past 15 years or so.

Getting tough on drugs, gangs and crime is the primary job of all law enforcement but here on the central coast in the heart of darn near paradise we need someone with experience, good ethics and not afraid to do their job. Chief Burton stepped up in a time of controversy and corruption, and has acted admirably.


He didn’t “step” up. The first candidate fell through and only then, did Burton throw his hat into the ring.

Besides, during Chittygate, Burton was noticeably quiet. He either knew nothing (extremely hard to believe) or he just said nothing–which denotes a lack of character and an unwillingness to stand up against Jim “Phat Bald Guy” App.

Paso deserves better.


In all fairness, we don’t know what Burton said behind closed doors during the Solomon investigation. It would have been unprofessional and even unethical to make public statements regarding that fiasco as it wasn’t something that he was beholden to the public to address. He seems like he’s doing a good job in Paso and he does have years of experience. He has been doing what seems to be a fine job during this interim period and bashing him seems more about the fact that he managed to keep his job in Paso rather than about his performance, present and past.

I say give the man a honest try, lots of credit and tell him thank you with a sincere blessing.


Who’s “bashing” him?

Cindy, you mean well but you’re extremely naïve. Paso PD deserves a fresh start, not just another Jim App lackey. Citizen’s comment posted above is 100%.


pp5, Unless they get rid of App, the only way a PRPD Chief will keep his position is to become a Jim App lackey. In the end it is Jim App that is the problem, get rid of him and then getting fresh blood on the PD will make a difference. Until then, it will make no difference.


Yeah, but you just don’t hire from within because, with someone like App at the tiller of Paso Robles, the only officers left to hire from within are the ones who either outright supported or stood silent while the illegal behaviors and policies of Solomon/App occurred.


QUOTING CINDY: “In all fairness, we don’t know what Burton said behind closed doors during the Solomon investigation.”

Cindy, I almost always agree with you, and appreciate the local insight you bring to us. However, in this instance I don’t agree with you.

You know that if Burton had done anything to stand up to Solomon and/or App, he would have been harassed out of his position.

That being said, we can pretty much assume we know what Burton DIDN’T do and say behind closed doors during the Solomon investigation.

***He didn’t stand up for his fellow officers who were being sexually harassed by Lisa Solomon.

***He didn’t refuse to follow the illegal ticket-quota program Solomon had instituted.

***He didn’t refused to stand up to City Manager Jim App who was Solomon’s staunch supporter until the bitter end.

***He didn’t refused to stand up for the Paso residents who were also the victims of the screwed up Solomon- and App-led PD.

***He didn’t stand up against the illegal ticket-quota scheme.

***He didn’t stand up to any of the Solomon/App policites, including the Solomon-initiated policy of her officers not responding to important calls.

We have to face it: Burton is NOT a stand-up guy. If he had stood up to Solomon/App, he would have been forced out of the department, as Solomon/App did to Paso officers, who ARE stand-up guys, and stood up to Solomon/App. Burton Certainly would not be considered for Police Chief!

Can anybody, in their wildest imagination, believe Jim App would allow Burton any possibility for being police chief if Burton HAD stood up to App?


“You know that if Burton had done anything to stand up to Solomon and/or App, he would have been harassed out of his position. ”

Mary, I can’t agree with you. More than enough truth was obviously spoken behind closed doors. Enough was said to stop and close the investigation and the report was “SQUASHED”. We know that if there was any way that they (App and certain CC) could have exonerated Solomon, they would have but they couldn’t. That would mean that the other officers in the hot tub who still had their jobs also confirmed the stories as did others who had seen wrong doing. They weren’t fired, no one was fired during or after the investigation. Plenty of truth was told and you can not say that Burton kissed butt to keep his job when everybody who talked kept their jobs and we know that plenty of PD talked. We don’t know what Burton shared or didn’t share. He was made temporary Chief because he was the only qualified candidate at the time.

If your going to judge Burton, judge him on his current performance, you have no other fair basis to judge him on. That’s all I’m saying.


“Judge him on his current performance”?!?! Are you nuts?

When a police chief is chosen, it is based on his previous performance! Do you think the evaluation committee starts considering what happens from the time he fills out the application? “Oh, Mr. Burton, such nice penmenship, you’re hired!” “Oh, Mr. Burton, you showed up for the interview right on time! You obviously are prime police-chief material. You’re hired!!”

Have YOU ever been hired based on just your current performance? There wouldn’t be all those boxes on the employment application that are headed “Past Employment History” if making a decision by current performance is all that is needed.

How much “truth was spoken behind closed doors” doesn’t matter. The truth that matters came from the officers who had the courage to speak truth to power when it mattered the most. Those officers are GONE from the PD, and Burton, by remaining silent, is still on the PD and going for the chief’s position.

The fact is, when the Paso PD and the City of Paso (and the citizens of Paso) needed Burton to stand up to the horrible wrongs on during Solomon’s reign of failure, Burton had to have remained silent. App would have shoved him out the door in a heartbeat if he had spoke up to Solomon/App. Burton certainly would not now be considered for the police chief position.

There is no reason for Burton to change his ways, and now some pretty big reasons for him to continue to remain silent…such as being police chief.

So, yes, we must judge him by his past behavior, especially since App is still City Manager.


MM: “That being said, we can pretty much assume we know what Burton DIDN’T do and say behind closed doors during the Solomon investigation.” So consistent: “…we can pretty much assume…” Do you actually know anything? An old saying: “Never assume. It only makes an ass out of u and me.”


“Do you actually know anything?”

Weak sauce. Why are you still here?


The problem with giving him an “honest try” is this…

Harm, including deaths, can occur in Paso if their police chief is incompetent. The longer an incompetent police chief is in office, the more chances there are for harm to occur.

Considering the YEARS of problems in the Solomon-led Paso PD, considering the huge hit on their credibility and competence suffered by both the city council and city manager for both their selection of Solomon as police chief and their rock-solid support of her throughout the scandal…I think it is safe to say that, once Burton is in, he will have to set puppies on fire on the steps of City Hall before the city council and the city manager will take steps to remove him from office.

AND it would likely be expensive (at least as expensive as Solomon) to boot Burton from the police chief position. It would also likely take months and months of Paso residents’ activism to apply sufficient pressure on City Hall to get him out.

Can Paso afford that? Can Paso’s citizen activists afford to have to use their time, energy and financial resources to–once again–get rid of an incompetent police chief?

Paso would be well-served to have a facilitator work with App and the city council to help them identify the mistakes they made in promoting Solomon from within the department, their problems in providing adequate oversight for the police chief and police department, and the mistakes they made which drove them to take so long to get rid of Solomon once it was clear she was a HUGE liability to Paso.

What, IMO, is a huge red flag is that Burton, if he became police chief, would be a promotion from within the PD. Another red flag is that, for Burton to be considered for police chief, it is highly doubtful he ever stood up to Solomon and App about Solomon’s illegal behaviors and policies.

If Burton didn’t stand up to App when he wasn’t police chief, it doesn’t seem likely he will stand up to App if he becomes police chief because Burton will have even more to lose from App’s petty and vindictive approach to challenges.


What do you mean, “if he became police chief?” He’s already been selected, according to CCN sources. That’s usually enough for you.