Paso Robles announces $125,000 ticket quota settlement

March 22, 2014

Pso signA day after signing a non-disclosure agreement, Paso Robles city officials disclosed they had settled a traffic ticket quota lawsuit filed by a former employee for $125,000.

Total costs to the city exceed $160,000. In addition to the $125,000 settlement, the city paid $33,594 in attorneys’ fees and $2,671 in other expenses.

Jon Tatro, a 25-year veteran of the Paso Robles Police Department, said he and other patrol officers were required to write increasingly frequent traffic tickets in order to reach a non-specified financial goal. Such quotas are illegal under California law.

Shortly after Tatro’s attorney, Jeffrey A. Lipow of Encino, told the nine-woman, three-man jury during opening arguments on March 13 that “the evidence would show” that city officials conspired with Lisa Solomon-Chitty to generate additional revenues for city coffers by increasing the number of traffic citations, the city offered a settlement.

The non-disclosure agreement also includes a stipulation that Tatro is not to disclose information regarding the department or city management. However, the agreement has been violated opening the door for public exposure.


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The Practice is still going on today.

Just the other day Gene from the upholstery shop on 21 street got a ticket for having a customers car in front of his business (he has been at the same location for well over 30 years that I am aware of). It was supposedly an old ordinance that hasn’t been enforced before.

So some city employee decided it was time to enforce it.

It came with a ridiculous fine as well.

I can think of a few other examples of some city employee instructing the police department

to go out into the public and incite them to enforce some idiotic policy).

If it pads the city coffers as well, all the better…

In defense of the cops, If they say anything about it, they run the risk of loosing their job

That is UN-acceptable behavior by our city employees………………

What was the ticket for, exactly? Would Gene be willing to post a copy of the ticket online?

Pasojim, I think you may be right. After not seeing police doing any traffic stops on the East side of town for months, all of a sudden we have police stationed at the usual places. We even saw someone pulled over on N. River Road.

What is so irritating, is that the neighbors have asked for police on Experimental Station Road during the morning and evening rush times and we were told by police that they would try–they didn’t. Residents are putting their own signs out, to no avail. We have people at 50, 60 mph when the speed limit is 25mph.

I suspect the city is trying to raise money to pay for the Tatro settlement. Maybe it isn’t completely covered by insurance as Jim App says. Hopefully, App and Burton have not set up “quotas” again in defiance of state law.

For anyone curious, N.River Road was completely closed down Sunday morning for a fund raiser marathon for the WINE COUNTRY ALLIANCE–a non profit to support the wineries and wine industry.

The city shut down a major road into town for a marathon for a private group (which the city gets nothing in return). This is really sick in light of the damage to the ground water aquifer done by the WINE INDUSTRY.

At the risk of sounding stupid or duplicitous, I am going to take the other side on this from numerous comments. This revelation of the figure pleases me, and the figure ain’t so costly, as municipal law enforcement settlements sometimes go. This might be a stinky but good taxpayer WIN.

First, nondisclosure agreements are standard fare. So I consider it a plus that the amount was revealed. It is useful information and is a breath of fresh air that somebody took the risk of publishing the exact figure for all of us to know.

Second, an eighth part of $1 million sounds like a lot, however for a career changing suit and resolution, isn’t it really cheap compared with the costs of further trial and a possibly big sympathetic jury award to Tatro? An award that might not have been covered by city insurance.

Particularly so if it (the settlement outcome) clears the air and exposes and erases an illegal Chitty Solomon practice?

We can go forward in two manners, both are fine with me; let this matter go, or use it as a club to beat the council until they fire App and turn this town around? The roads, the spotty enforcement of laws, and the lack of action on the water basin decline are all areas that need focus by either a newly invigorated or replacement City Council.

Beat me up on this board if you desire, but I’ve seen some whopping settlements that were excruciating to discuss in closed session. Given the malfeasance of Chief Solomon regarding the harm to Tatro, is it possible that taxpayers got off Cheaply?

One can never go wrong underestimating the integrity of Burton, App and the rest of their Ol’ Boy Clique.

Was Donal Schneider ambushed and murdered for asking too many questions?

Why is the Grand Jury of SLO County more useless than teats on a boar hog?

Mayor Picanco and Councilmen: When, oh WHEN will you finally fire City Manager Jim App?

Its mostly (not all) about high priced revenue

Once again they mess up and then hush it up with the taxpayer’s money. Even if insurance pays, there are costs to the People. When will Paso voters wise up? When will we have a City Council that tells the City Manager what to do and not vice versa?

Too many good old boys, doin’ good old boy things, in their little downtown club!

A Public Entity spends our money and cant disclose why? This is bad and reeks of corruption.

“Shut up money so nobody finds out more of the skeletons in the closet from the App and dancin’ on the tables Chief of Police doings, and other workings inside the Paso good ole boys and girls mafia. PASO ROBLES – Charles Lorenzen resigned from his position as the Building, Parks and Streets Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Paso Robles on Sept. 17, according to Paso Robles City Manager Jim App. WHAT WAS THE BOTTOM OF THIS????

Paso folks…wonder why this town never seems to take off and get out of the financial bad roads and no tourist here yet… it is the good ole boy mafia network that runs your circling the drain town…

meanwhile back at the ranch the water runs out and the roads are the worst than any town I have ever lived in…

You got that frickin right!

You’re right. The roads in Paso are awful. Also the 21st street project is a failure. Centennial Pool is still closed. There’s no money for July 4th fireworks. At Christmas, Santa and his police escort no longer visit neighborhoods. The downtown park playground was left to rot and decay for 10 years. The landscaping around town was unmaintained for 3 years…

But somehow there’s money in the general fund to pay Lisa Chitty a quarter of a million bucks…then pay out another $160K because Chitty OK’d ticket quotas…Too bad this Tatro settlement can’t be taken out of Lisa’s pension.

Another hush payment by government. How much longer will it go on. I would think that with this payoff we might see a class action suit, or should be, to dismiss all traffic tickets issued by the Paso Robles PD back to when this occurred. Obviously if this policy was in place there had to be some “hummers” issued. The damages are endless with the fines paid and the damages done to the cost of an increase in insurance.

Now Mr. App, and company, how are you going to get out of this one? The non-disclosure agreement will probably take care of this one unless there is a suit brought against the city.

But we have to ask the question, if you didn’t do anything wrong why do you have to have a non-disclosure agreement?

I think I’ve got it-GUILTY.