Rehired SLO firefighter agrees to pay cut

June 7, 2013
John Ryan Mason

John Ryan Mason

Embattled San Luis Obispo firefighter John Ryan Mason, whom Fire Chief Charlie Hines rehired this week, has agreed to take a pay cut of more than $36,000 and a five-year probationary period. [Tribune]

Following a bar bathroom brawl, Mason faced charges of felony assault with great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury. But, Mason’s trial concluded with a hung jury leaning eight to four in his favor, and the District Attorney’s Office chose not to retry the case.

Mason, who has worked for the fire department for more than a decade before Hines fired him last November, will return to his job as an entry-level firefighter. Mason’s annual pay will drop from $92,140 to $56,160.

Mason also agreed to return to work on a five-year probation period during which Hines can fire him again for any conduct similar to the bar bathroom brawl.

The agreement between Mason and the city ends the possibility of Mason filing an appeal to get his job back. Had Mason won an appeal, he could have also sought back pay from the city.

The agreement also states that it cannot be used as an admission in a future civil or criminal case against him

While Councilman Dan Carpenter issued a statement Thursday reprimanding the decision to rehire Mason, Mayor Jan Marx said she is satisfied with the agreement.

“I think that the agreement has built in sufficient safeguards so that the public and the city is protected,” Marx said. “He can be terminated without rights to appeal with any misstep. It is now up to him prove himself. It is not clear he will be able to make it, but I for one hope he is able to do so.”



We’re there additional conditions that have to be met like…enrollment in an ANGER MANAGEMENT program? Or ALCOHOL ABUSE program?



I’d like to commend you all on your perfection…Heaven forbid that someone should make a mistake, show remorse and get a second chance!

Since you all are so well versed in the facts of the case, why not just form a posse and lynch the guy…Clearly he’s guilty, right?

I’m not trying to defend what he did, nor state that I KNOW what he did…just trying to point out that all of you know the same amount as me and yet you’re so certain he’s guilty.

Should he never be hired again ANYWHERE???

Wow…Pretty high standard here. Mom’s basement must have you all feeling pretty secure.


At what point, exactly, did he show remorse? Please remind me. Thanks.


Guilty or not, he has clearly shown a pattern of violent behavior. following the last incident, he refused to render aid to the individual he has just severely beaten. Which mistake she he be forgiven for…his drunkenness? The beating? Refusing to offer aid?


We don’t need ANY of OUR public servants behaving in this manner…EVER.

slo Fact Finder

This would never be allowed to occur in the “Real World” !!


I can only hope I never need to call 911 and have Mr. Mason as the first responder … especially if he has had a bad day or someone has pissed him off (or he is feeling entitled). I do believe we have some political BS going on here and wonder when administrators will find the “guts” to do the right thing—not just sweep bad blood under the rug. I’d say some lawyers are getting fat wallets over this one.


Listen Granny… better pray if you ever need the SLO City Fire Department that Ryan is working that day. He is one of the best medics and firefighters this city has and even the the city management can’t dispute that. It is a disservice to all the citizens of SLO that they are not letting him work as a medic……CLO City claims to put the safety of their citizens first, but in this case they sure as hell aren’t.


Scary that, per you, “he is one of the best medicis and firefighters this city has….” If he is one of the best, I’m glad my 911 calls will be from north county and not SLO.


It was a disservice to the City of SLO that he wasn’t acting as a Medic the night he bashed that guys face in and left him on a bathroom floor.

Where is that Medic at?


slocal, why don’t you take your brokeback, holier-than-thou, I will forever be an engineer because I can’t score high enough on the captain’s exam husband and SUCK IT.


He may be as capable as you say in his professional abilities but he is severely lacking in his character and that negates much if not all of his better qualities.


How many public relations blunders can one community endure?

This mess.

Double decker bus and ladder truck.

Insane wages for admin. and legal.

Extorting the court reward from the homeless’ attorneys.

Handling of all homeless issues.

Measure Y funds.

Dumping of hazardous materials.

and so much more…

Our City antics are as silly as what goes on in Oceano.


This whole situation is probably a lot more complicated than most of us realize; in reading the article for this thread, the one point that stood out in my mind was that the agreement removes from the table any effort by Mason’s attorney to sue to get his job back, which would also include an attempt to get back pay for the time he has been away from the job. Everyone in city management apparently realizes exactly how inept our city attorney is and that she would most likely drop the ball again and the city would lose any lawsuit filed against it, so as a means of trying to save the city some money and the city attorney some “face”, hiring Mason back seems to possibly be the lesser of two evils. I am not saying that this is how it should be, I really don’t know if this was the reasoning behind the decision, it just seems like a very strong possibility even though the decision to most of us is outrageous. I am truly disappointed with our Mayor, Jan Marx, the whole city administrative staff that had a hand in making this decision, and especially the fire chief in agreeing to make this decision. This settlement stinks to high heaven of back room dealings of so-called city leaders who do not care what the citizens feel about it in any way.


I agree with you completely on this issue. Additionally, I wonder if the reason an incompetent lawyer like Dietrick has a contract with the city is that “Her Honor” Marx (also an attorney) doesn’t want anyone in that position willing and able to challenge her positions with contrary legal advice.


Guys my hero


And I thought that paramedics were supposed to save lives, not beat people unconscious and leave them on a bar room floor?

Silly me…


Wait a minute…back up the fire engine!!

“Mason also agreed to return to work on a five-year probation period during which Hines can fire him again for any conduct similar to the bar bathroom brawl.”

Seriously? Fire him again? Why wait for another incident to occur, he should NOT have been rehired.

Is the fire department that desperate? I thought there long waiting lists for men and women who would love to become firefighters.

All of this makes NO sense, and the city should be ashamed of this decision.


You are totally right, there are thousands of men and woman just as qualified as him waiting for a job as a firefighter. I have friends in CDF just waiting to get a city job. So what does our brilliant city do…hire back a guy that cant seem to control his anger issues and is a huge liability to the city and tax payer money.


If this were to happen again, I think a lawsuit could pull the city in if another person becomes victim number two.