San Luis Obispo City Council to negotiate Gesell’s payout

May 11, 2015
Steve Gesell

Steve Gesell


San Luis Obispo City staff placed an item on Tuesday’s agenda late Monday afternoon that appears to be about Chief Steve Gesell’s separation from the city. Gesell is currently on paid administrative leave.

During a special SLO City Council meeting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the council is slated to discuss anticipated litigation. During the closed session discussion, the city council is expected to discuss a cash settlement, likely to be in six figures.

“A point has been reached where, in the opinion of the legislative body of the local agency on the advice of its counsel, based on existing facts and circumstances there is a significant exposure to litigation against the local agency,” Tuesday’s agenda says. “The existing facts and circumstances exposing the city to litigation include potential obligations arising out of the separation of a public employee from employment.”

Reliable and informed sources say Lichtig placed Gesell on leave as part of a plan to remove him from the city payroll because of irreconcilable differences.



  1. JB Bronson says:

    So what are we to make of a Police Chief who violates the law by imposing an illegal ticket quota?

    Lisa Solomon did the same and also skewed data to DOJ.

    Michael Blank, defender of the poor, screwing his own agency with “discrepancies in his billing” aka Robin Hood stealing from…the poor? Serious?

    What the f@3K is going on in today’s world?

    Character matters and if you don’t have it, it shows.

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  2. 65buick says:

    I’m signing up for ‘public service’!

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  3. kayaknut says:

    After we hear the 6 figure amount of Gesell’s payoff can you image what Lichtig’s payoff will be when she finally figures the residents of SLO have had enough of her mismanagement and she decides to escape?

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  4. Paso_citizen says:

    I know it will make no difference, but I have to comment on this story and agree with most
    of the other commenters.

    It really sucks (big time) that this is the way things are done with public service employees
    They screw up, do some things that are wrong or illegal, and then get to walk away
    with a huge financial reward for doing so.

    Even though we have seen this happen in this county; this probably happens all over this
    country, in hundreds of cities and counties. This is American democracy at its finest.

    City government comes up with some “song and dance” decision that it will be much
    easier and less costly to just agree to a huge payoff and keep all those skeletons
    safely hidden away.

    It will never happen in SLO, but it would be very refreshing to see some city have
    the balls to refuse to do this and go to trial, and let the chips fall where they may.

    The only way this will ever be changed is if the citizens demand it. Not 10 citizens, not
    a 100 citizens, not a 1000 citizens; but a huge majority of all citizens (like 80% or more)
    Through all the means at our disposal, demand that this process gets changed.

    We, the voters, do have the power to force change. But only if we are willing to use it.

    (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
    • kayaknut says:

      The officials will never change, when it comes their time to leave they want their $$$$$ too.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  5. SLOBIRD says:

    There is a lot to be said about this entire incident. First. Chief Gesell was hired by City Manager Katie Licktig because he was going to be her yes man (remember the parking tickets issued to the homeless parking on the streets at night, being roused in the middle of the night by the police, etc.), the problem here is that her golden boy was gone to much and sort of lost control of his position and of course this irritated lots of folks at PD. He was always been above the staff, never fit in, and didn’t care who liked it. How do you think the story about travelgate got out to the public? How do you think the ticket quota program got out to the public? How do you think the pizza party got out to the public? When your staff does not respect you strange things can happen!

    But, the really problem is the leadership at the City. Licktig and Derrick (City Attorney) keep their jobs because of the inter-relationships of the administration. This is how these situations come to be and the dollars roll out the door.

    Licktig is a roommate of Human Ressources Director, Irons; Jan Marx and Licktig spend lots of time together in Malibu; Derrick, as incompetent as she is, keeps her job because she is the right hand of Licktig and Jan Marx. Licktig has hired all the department heads to date including promoting her assistant, a member of the planning department with no administration experience. You can talk to the lay workers and the moral and leadership are so lacking. Look at what has happened in the Finance Department. The Finance Director can’t even put a budget together and outside resources had to be brought in. Then you have the reorganization, promotions and hiring in the City Clerks office and Human Resources. All these personal relationships have consequences when something goes wrong. The most common consequence is costly and called payoffs and this is totally the head of Katie Licktig and Jan Marx and until these two are gone, nothing will change!

    (21) 23 Total Votes - 22 up - 1 down
    • MBwaiter says:

      Perfectly stated. If Licktig, Irons and Derrick had done their job they would have created a record of discipline and been able to fire the Chief. Instead they have done nothing which will now require the City to pay to get rid of him. When will the City get rid of these people and get competent professional advice.

      (12) 12 Total Votes - 12 up - 0 down
      • agag1 says:

        The answer is never.
        The city will NEVER be rid of people like these as long as they keep hiring more people like them.
        The names may change, but that won’t matter, the mentality will be the same.
        Gimme, gimme, gimme.

        (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
        • kayaknut says:

          Welcome to the world of public sector employment…. gimme, gimme, gimme….

          (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down

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