CAPSLO demotes Dee Torres
March 14, 2014
By CALCOASTNEWS staff
The embattled director of San Luis Obispo County’s homeless services was demoted earlier this week by Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s CEO Biz Steinberg.
In an email to county officials, Steinberg said she was dividing homeless services into two parts – shelter services and case management services — in “order to be more fiscally efficient, coordinate all case management services and better staff MLM Shelter and Prado Day Center.”
Dee Torres’ new position as CAPSLO’s homeless services manager comes with a more than 20 percent decrease in pay. In addition, Torres will no longer report to Steinberg, but instead to CAPSLO’s Deputy Director Grace McIntosh.
In addition, Torres’ former second in command, Prado Day Center Manager Shawn Ison, also received a “hefty” cut in pay, according to an email Torres sent employees. Torres noted that when she confronted CAPSLO Chief Operating Officer Jim Famalette about the restructuring he “was so mad he was practically spitting.”
“They gave me a big speech (one they’ve been giving me for 15 years) about my number one priority and allegiance needs to be to the ‘agency,’ ” Torres wrote. “I said it was to the clients, volunteers, staff, donors, and programs.
“I kind of knew then that they were unhappy with me,” Torres wrote.
Numerous former employees of CAPSLO have said that Torres took gift cards and other items donated to the homeless for her own use, according to declarations filed in Torres v. Brennler, CV130145 in 2013. Torres’ defamation suit against Mike Brennler, an investigator who works with CalCoastNews, was stricken by the court as an improper SLAPP suit infringing First Amendment Rights.
In addition, Torres allegedly sold items donated to the homeless without any accounting for the revenue she collected, according to tax records.
Torres does not agree that she was demoted so that the program can run more fiscally efficient and instead claims it is because of a power play.
“They are saying it’s economics but it’s control and it’s personal,” Torres wrote. “Grace McIntosh has been working on this ever since she was kicked out of the homeless services department by Biz.”
Most of CAPSLO’s funding comes from government grants approved by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, a board Torres’ fiancé Adam Hill sits on. CAPSLO received over $60 million last year in government funding, with Hill sometimes recusing himself from the vote and other times voting to approve funding for CAPSLO.
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