San Luis Obispo city attorney’s brother-in-law gets a job without any competition

August 27, 2013
Christine Dietrick

Christine Dietrick

CLARIFICATION: Ted Green is Christine Dietrick’s brother-in-law.


San Luis Obispo city officials provided a job to a key employee’s brother-in-law without making the position available to current city employees or the general public.

City Attorney Christine Dietrick’s brother-in-law Ted R. Green needed a job. On July 25, Community Development Director Derek Johnson provided Green a temporary department position of administrative executive assistant at $22.95 an hour or $47,736 a year.

It is unclear if he is qualified for the job as the spaces to provide education levels completed or his last employment position were left blank on his personnel form.

Under California Law, all government positions must be advertised either internally or externally for the general population to apply to eliminate improprieties, such as nepotism. The position was never advertised.

Human Resources Director Monica Irons said that because they converted the position temporarily to a non-permanent post the city is not required to inform city employees or the general public about the job opening.

“I think word-of-mouth and referring people we know to be good responsible people is a pretty common recruitment practice,” Irons said.

The city’s employment opportunity program was negotiated with the employee union SLOCEA. According to the program’s agreement, all employee positions that become available must be advertised internally to allow existing staff to apply. If less than three qualified employees apply and /or if administration feels that there may be more qualified candidates externally the position is then advertised to the general public to ensure that the most qualified candidate is hired.

But, by appointing someone to a position temporarily the city can skirt the requirement that the job be announced internally.

The temporary appointment also lets the city attorney’s brother build up work experience in the position. That experience then can become a factor when a position is advertised as a permanent post. And, because the temporary job is classified as an internal employee position, Green would be among the people notified of the position when it is opened up for applications from city workers.

Would Green’s temporary appointment give him an advantage over other applicants?

“I guess,” Kathy Hamilton, human resources specialist said.

Green’s current position became available when Ryan Betz, who held the position for about six years, applied for and received the public works analyst position. A position several city staffers contend is permanent.

However, Irons contends Betz moved over to finance to fill another temporary position and will at some time in the future return to his old job.

“Ted was hired on a temporary basis for a temporary need, because the person who filled the position in the community development department was loaned to work in finance,” Irons said.

Currently, the position of administrative executive assistant pays $53,560 to $65,780 a year.

Sources within San Luis Obispo city hall said Dietrick is working to have the position reclassified as an administrative analyst. That job carries a salary range of from $60,996 to $76,206 a year, according to the city’s website.

Irons denied the allegation that the job title is being changed.

A few years ago, internal emails revealed that Irons requested that the community development department director hire Dan Doris to fill a vacant code enforcement position.

In the email, Iron says that she ran into Doris at a party she attended with her husband Jamie Irons, mayor of Morro Bay. Irons also said that her husband had work inspected by Doris, a former inspector for Morro Bay.

“I know that Dan has inspected remodels that Jamie (my husband) has done and Jamie has always respected and enjoyed his interactions with Dan,” Irons writes in her email to Tim Girvin, the city’s former chief building official.

Tim Girvin then appointed Doris to the position, again through a word of mouth job notification process, Irons said.



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If the city attorney had anything to do with this hire… she should be fired.

Is that simple enough?

It is simple enough and true as well. However, if she had anything to do with it, she is smart enough (barely) to cover her tracks. There is unlikely to be any legal consequences unless another party to the action turns on her.

Talk about something that really STINKS. The corruption and back door shenanigans is more then OBVIOUS……So easy to connect the dots with these cast of characters.

Wow! Our corrupt city! The amazing thing is this city has become such a corrupt and insular operation they don’t even think there’s anything wrong with this crony hiring. Derek Johnson’s a crook — he’s taken a corrupt department and made it even worse. If the public knew the half of it!

Hmmm…something to ponder. Is this a case of malice? Or rather a story characterized by the absence of malice. Lets hear what the legal eagles have to say about it.

What are you implying, sir? You looking to waste more public money with phony defamation lawsuits?

I think you goofed. Christine Dietrick is her maiden name. Her married surname is Green. I think this Ted Green is actually her husband Matt’s brother, making Ted her brother-in-law. Which in some regards is even more scandalous.

Who hasn’t been asked to help out an in-law? Seems to come with the territory in just about any marraige/family situation.

BUT, this is government and they have rules, of course these are rules that they themselves wrote and they know every concievable way to get around them.

The whole addage of “It’s not what you know but who you know,” is a truism. Here’s a fine example ot that.

I know Dan Doris and he’s a good man. He retired from Morro Bay several years ago and having someone like that come in to fill in temporarily is not unusual. He would be limited to how many hours he could work under PERS, but such professional short-term contracts are common.

Building inspecting requires a lot of training and schooling, so bringing in someone experienced like Doris would seem like a smart move.

However, the fact that the HR director recommended him is somewhat wierd. Usually it’s another inspector that would have brought him in. Doris was at Morro Bay long enough that I’m sure he knows all the SLO inspectors and the folks in the building dept.


I typically like your reporting and it is typically spot on, but I believe that Ted R. Green is her brother-in-law. Her husband’s brother. Still all in the family. However, this really doesn’t change the conflict of interest and blatant impropriety of this issue. Still a thumbs up on the reporting.

I wonder how many hours of peoples’ lives the City of SLO has wasted stringing them along through the application process for these “openings” that are essentially already filled. I have applied with the City in the past and made it through a few rounds of interviews for several different jobs and I can tell you that the time and preparation put into it is nothing to sneeze at. It’s a rather gut-wrenching process that keeps you from looking for other work while you are preparing. Thanks, CCN. Now I know never to waste my time with the City of SLO again, unless we can get some true transparency with these people.

To the person who goes through these posts blanket-“disliking” them, what exactly chaps your hide about my post? A job-seeker wondering how much time he’s wasted applying for non-existent openings? Interview preparation? Time management? The basic desire for gainful employment? Or is it that very dangerous word – “knowledge?” That must be it. You’re against people having knowledge. You’re anti-awareness, aren’t you? No wonder you “dislike” the posts on this website so much.

I used to trim trees for the city but they refused to renew my position because they wanted someone who lived “locally.” I told them I’ve been on Del Rio for 31 years and there’s no way I’m leaving. Not that it would have mattered. They probably gave the job to somecal poly dropout whose only relevent experience was trimming weed up in Eureka.

Karen will discuss this story and take your phone calls Thursday at 5:05 p.m. on News/Talk 920 KVEC. LIsten online at

The best we can hope for now is that Ms. Dietrick bucks the trend of high-level SLO County leaders sleeping with the people the “hire”.

Conflict of Interest: The common law doctrine requires a public officer “to exercise the powers conferred onhim with disinterested skill, zeal, and diligence and primarily for the benefit of the public.”(Noble v. City of Palo Alto (1928) 89 Cal.App. 47, 51 (citations omitted).) Therefore, actualinjury is not required. Rather, “[f]idelity in the agent is what is aimed at, and as a means ofsecuring it the law will not permit him to place himself in a position in which he may be temptedby his own private interests to disregard those of his principal.” (Ibid.) Stated another way,“[p]ublic officers are obligated, . . . [by virtue of their office], to discharge their responsibilitieswith integrity and fidelity.” (Terry v. Bender (1956) 143 Cal.App.2d 198, 206.) For example, inClark v. City of Hermosa Beach (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1152, the court concluded that in anadjudicatory hearing, the common law is violated if a decision maker is tempted by his or herpersonal or pecuniary interests. In addition, the doctrine applies to situations involving anonfinancial personal interest. (Id. at p. 1171, fn. 18; 92 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 19 (2009).) Case law clearly denotes that this situation is a conflict of interest, no ifs ands or butts about it.

So how much jail time would these crooks get? I bet they just make a note in some bureaucratic report and move on. They probably have contests in Sacramento to see how many notes each person can get in a year.