SLO fire chief to retire

July 23, 2013
Charlie Hines

Charlie Hines

San Luis Obispo Fire Chief Charlie Hines will retire from the city in September, according an email memorandum issued by City Manager Katie Lichtig Tuesday.

Hines, who recently rehired the embattled firefighter John Ryan Mason, will retire on September 10 in order to spend more time with his family, according to Lichtig’s email.

“Charlie and I have been discussing his desire to spend more time with his family for a number of months and he has decided for the first time in 38 years to put his family first,” Lichtig wrote.

Last month, Hines reinstated Mason, a fire engineer and paramedic, who faced charges of felony assault with great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury for his alleged beating of a man in a bar bathroom following a wedding. Several members of the public protested Hine’s decision to rehire Mason before the city council.

Councilman Dan Carpenter, who criticized the Mason rehire, slammed Lichtig for Hine’s sudden retirement in an email response Tuesday afternoon.

“Once again, we get left the horrid remnants of your ineffective decision making and management style,” Carpenter wrote. “The residents of SLO deserve better.”

Since Lichtig became city manager in January 2010, the majority of the department head positions have turned over, some more than once.

Hines became the fire chief in October 2010 following the death of previous Chief John Callahan. Hines previously served as the fire chief of Yakima, Washington.


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Find his reasoning to retire a little difficult to believe. I mean, his kids are presumably all grown, right? And youonly babysit the grandkids long enough to soil and sugar them up before you give them back to the parents. Who in their right mind gives up this much power and public status in such a short time? Bet your bottom dollar, nobody in his household gives him as much attention as he’s gotten at work.

What mysterious circumstances that over 50 City of SLO Department Heads an/or mid managers including the new City Clerk and the recently departed Economic Development Manager have left the city’s employment for one reason or another in the past 30 months since the beginning of Ms. Lichtig’s

reign as the City Manager.

Is it fate or perhaps a certain management style that is causing this mass exodus of well trained city personnel? Good question for the current and former city council members to answer!!

time to combine departments.

…or eliminate?

Horrible idea.

Well, it turns out all of the posters who predicted Hines would keep the position for just a couple of years, and then retire, were correct.

This is the tip of the iceberg starting to show. Rehire Mason, are you kidding? Even if there was a threat of a lawsuit at times you have to stand up for what is right. But if it’s not your money why should you care. More benefits to be given away. It will be interesting to see what the bottom line ($) may be to have this fire chief here for a few years? And then we paid the widow of the last fire chief when her husband died playing baseball? There is another payoff that occurred when a fireman died from pancreatic cancer which was declared job incurred and the city is paying that widow handsomely also.

Next they will want to spend $25K to $50K to find a replacement that Katie can use as a puppet, but when it’s all over they will just hire internally as I would assume the person has already been chosen.

Looks like San Luis Obispo truly is the friendliest place to be a fireman.

It doesn’t matter what the law says about pensions. If Jan Marxs likes the guy she will arrange for a payout for him. Lets hope he doesn’t play baseball. Remember the last fire chief who was here for less than 5 years died playing baseball and Jan Marx felt sorry for his family and arranged to give away 60,000 dollars a year to his widow. Now this guy was already getting a pension from his previous job and his widow would get 180,000 a year from that. So watch out SLO there is a giveaway coming. Marx on the move to give away pension money….And you people continue to do nothing….and you elected her puppet to replace Carter….SHAME