San Luis Obispo to reinstate Ryan Mason
June 6, 2013
UPDATE: Councilman Dan Carpenter’s statement on this issue is at the bottom of this article.
San Luis Obispo officials have agreed to reinstate embattled firefighter John Ryan Mason.
The decision was made by Fire Chief Charlie Hines with the support of Christine Dietrick, the city attorney. Hines noted that Mason has an exemplary record as a firefighter and feels that he can work with him. Last night, Mason left city hall carrying two uniforms.
Mason, a fire engineer and paramedic, faced charges of felony assault with great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury following his alleged beating of Jory Brigham in the bathroom of Pappy McGregor’s Bar & Grill after a wedding. 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.
The fire department placed Mason on unpaid administrative leave in April. A few months later, City Manager Katie Lichtig named him as a nominee for city employee of the year.
Nevertheless, several members of the city council told CalCoastNews that Mason’s behavioral pattern did not match the ethical code of a San Luis Obispo firefighter and that they were in favor of his termination. The fire department’s code of ethics mandates that firefighters “accept this responsibility of public trust both on and off duty.”
The city council does not have jurisdiction on this issue.
Councilman Dan Carpenter issued a statement voicing his disapproval of Hines’ decision to rehire Mason.
“I’m extremely saddened and disappointed with the decision of our Fire Chief and top management to reinstate firefighter Ryan Mason,” Carpenter said. “Traditionally, the city has held its public safety employees to the highest level of integrity and trust. Today, that tradition has been compromised by rewarding conduct unbecoming of a firefighter. My heart and compassion go out to Mr. Brigham and his family as they continue to heal from this tragedy.”