Jim App retiring from Paso Robles

February 12, 2015
City Manager James App

City Manager James App

Longtime Paso Robles City Manager Jim App has announced that he will retire at the end of the year.

App has worked as city manager for 18 years and has been a Paso Robles employee for 25 years. He announced in a press release that his retirement will take effect on Dec. 30 and that he is announcing his retirement now to give the city council time to find a replacement.

In 2012, App guided the city through a sex scandal that led to the ousting of police chief Lisa Solomon, whom he once referred to in an email as “Lovely Lisa Meter Maid.” App survived calls for his firing during public protest of the city’s handling of the Solomon affair.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished, and it has been a privilege to lead a dedicated and skilled team of professionals through times of opportunity, recession and even crisis,” App wrote in his retirement notice. “I will miss it and them all.”

App stated that Paso Robles has the potential for greatness but is facing a challenge. The city must responsibly manage natural resources, so future generations can enjoy the Paso Robles lifestyle, he wrote.

App concluded the release by saying he looks forward to seeing what new adventures life brings.


Before Jim App departs we should have an exit interview like all big companies do with their senior executives to find out the special knowledge the executive has as to how things got done under his or her tenure.

Here are a couple of things that occurred in the past few years that the new manager as well as the council might benefit from knowing the thought pattern of why things were done the way they were.

What are the specific reasons we no longer have our nationally recognized Memorial Day hot rod show? I spoke with some police officers who said that crime or drunkenness was not a problem. I spoke with a board member of the sponsor who said they were treated very badly by the city and they’d never come back to Paso. What a horrible indictment of our city. I think of Paso as a cowboy/wine snob/hot rod town, great mix of all kinds of people. Mr. App, tell us now what caused Paso to toss the car show that had been here for 20 years and made Paso famous nationally?

How come the city settled the lawsuit by Officer Tatro after settling with Soloman? We know these couldn’t both be the same, yet the city treated them that way. We all sort of know what came about with the ex-police chief, but why did we settle with Tatro? Was that a financial decision over logical and moral principle? And how does the next manager avoid this kind of situation?

How can the next council and manager avoid the debacle over the water plant vote where the city tried to circumvent Prop 218? We know that if it hadn’t been for Mr. Bort, the activist public citizen, this violation of state law may never have come to the forefront. The city incurred delay, legal fees, and a slap from the judge. How do we avoid this in the future? And by the way, how much did this cost the city, the all in cost including city staff whose time was taken up by this.

One last thing, did we have any recourse to sue the original contractor who put the Spring Street ADA ramps at the wrong angle. How come no lawsuit? The city used over a million of redevelopment money to deal with this.

Guide us, Mr. App, so we can avoid these unpleasant situations in the future.


Hopefully the city council will hire a new manager “at will” at least for a trial period in case things don’t work out so it does not cost the city a fortune to get rid of them if things don’t work out. Like any other city employee. Unfortunately I believe managers of any kind at the city would be costly to terminate i.e. Lisa Solomon. To many guarantees are given to managers so they can be majorly corrupt and still leave the city with a pocket of your cash.


Perhaps what we are witnessing, is the beginning of a modern day, county-wide reformation.

JB Bronson

I would expand on the accurate commentary by 4Paso with this: Being human, I think we have to forgive the imperfect track record. After all, we are all human.

But therein lies my grievance, Jim App has been an arrogant bully, as if he was some how superior to the rest of Paso citizens.

That will be his sad legacy.


Time for a change. App did some good things and some stupid things. He used his power in ways that benefited the city but many times got out of control in his power tripping. There has not been a City Council for a decade or more that would stand up to him. Some individual Councilmen did but did not have a majority. He ruled the roost. No doubt. The Solomon affair was pathetic. There are many other stories of abuse of power…

The new Council has the cajones to stand up to this and demand reasonable and fair approaches to issues. That is why App is leaving. His time has come.

We can do better. We have, and we will.


What good does it do to piss on his head while he is leaving forever? Let him go quietly and hope for a much better manager for our future.


Quoting Black Copter Pilot: “Let him go quietly and hope for a much better manager for our future.”


I don’t agree. App has facilitated City of Paso’s corruption. He has made decisions, such as the one with Lisa Solomon, which will leave the city’s taxpayers funding Solomon’s sleezy lifestyle for the rest of her life. And that is just ONE of the scandals he administered to the benefit of the one involved in the scandal.

Paso has no hope of getting a better City Manager if it is so willing to demonstrate that corrupt city managers can sail into Paso, get a princely salary and benefits, get involved in as many corrupt deals as he wants (with the city’s taxpayers having to pay for the deals in sweet Solomonesque payoffs, once they are outed) and then sail off into the sunset with his golden parachute and never have to be held accountable for the harm he has done to Paso.

Paso will never be able to realistically expect better in their City Manager if they don’t set a precedent by not letting corrupt city managers get away with it.


Do you have a reason to believe he will stop pissing on our heads now that he is a lame duck? He is getting no more than he deserves and will probably earn more disdain with outgoing actions, if he is typical of what we have seen recently. Maybe we can help give him reason to seek his next adventure far far away.


Seems like we can divide local municipal “leaders” into some basic groups:

A): Those that nosedive their communities into bankruptcy (Chuck Cesena, Cal Trans Four in Los Osos) or START their community on a similar downward path (Irons, et al).

B): Those that are mere placeholders with some good works, some appalling works and mostly station-keeping mediocrity (this fellow App), or

C): Those who are Stellar at jurisdictional vision and leadership: (Er, uh, _____________ fill in the blank, because in this county, it’s mostly BLANK……. Perhaps Mecham)

Oh well, in any event, one so much hopes that Katie and Brucie could leave concurrent with App. (It’s a dream, I know, but it’s MY dream.)


Or, you could keep is simple and identify them all as LOSERS.


And yet another brilliant bit of news from the oppressors of freedom. Looks like the political reform which has started has the rats fleeing to get off the boat before it goes down completely in flames.

Can’t happen soon enough, good riddance to bad rubbish.


Great news, but – – –

While I would bet that Jim “The Big-Phat Bald Guy” App will be applauded and given all

kinds of kudos, etc. for his ‘sterling’ leadership – it should be remembered that his actions,

or the lack thereof, cost the taxpayers of this city several million dollars.

His ‘handling’ of the Solomon affair was, and in my mind, will always be a black mark on

this city. That includes the payoff made to her, the settling of various lawsuits, and the

attitude that the citizens of this city do not count convinced me that he is an ego-driven,

power-hungry individual who believes only he has the answers.

I had only been a citizen of Paso for about 4 years when the Solomon affair took place,

and in became very clear that what transpired was the result of a dysfunctional city

government – a very powerful city manager combined with a very weak city mayor and


Don’t forget the charade that was ‘conducted’ to find a replacement for Solomon. More

cost to taxpayers and the “best” this city could get was another inside promotion – very

likely partly a result of outside candidates not being willing to be a puppet. You think?

And it can go on from there. Bloated salaries for city employees, water and sewer

issues, pipeline, closing of city park (and the stupendous effort made to block re-opening

this park – by putting out a bloated cost estimate). His disregard for our streets, salaries

for him and his minions come first. Perfect example is the money spent on ‘App”ian Way,

also known as 21st street from Riverside to Vine.

So I, for one, will not be sorry to see him go. It will interesting to see how much this city

will spend on his replacement, or we just get another inside promotion (Meg?).

There is a recently un-employed ex-city manager in Arroyo Grande. Any interest?

And how much will this city pay for the replacement – more than the $190K.

And how will our city council ‘reward’ him in these next 10 months? A big salary increase

so that his Calpers retirement will be even higher? Maybe a statue?, re-name a street?,

a school?, a park? – surely something befitting him can be done.