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.

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A message I would send to the SLO city council, (not that I think it would do any good), would be to put an end to this dispicable pattern of paying off employees who break the rules/law. Stop using some lame excuse such as it would be cheaper than going to court. In this I can not speak for the taxpayers of SLO, but as one who got fleeced by Steve Adams in AG, I would be fine finally in one case to fight this practice and yes possibly it would cost more this one time but if it stops the next employee caught breaking the law or violating their contract it would be worth it this one time to rip off the band-aid, take the pain for the benefit of stopping the continual pattern of paying off crooks.


You and many others have grounds to be upset and grumble about these payouts. Just like in Paso (Lisa Solomon) and recently in AG (Steve Adams) where the departures of exec managers led to hefty payouts, here is how it works:

During employees time with agency they learn and document the misdeeds of those in positions above them ie. city managers and council members. In essence it is simply that they know where the skeletons lie.

Once the employee is caught with a hand in the cookie jar or elswhere then they simply demand the payout with the understanding that that if the payout is not met then the skeletons will be exposed.

While true that it is also about cutting losses in legal fees, the most important factor in payouts is to allow the skeletons to lie.

The bottom line is that there are simply too many unethical people at the top of our local governments and they fleece us lambs at every opportunity.

How about 10 years pay with benefits and a new super up Pontiac painted polic blue as a parting gift. Are these fools kidding. If you fire someone, have the balls to fire them. If not, leave them in the job, but don’t piss away money that is not yours.

Geee …what are the odds that Gesell is a Republican ?


There are crooks on both sides of the aisle so your post is meaningless ….

example: what are the odds Adam Hill is a Democrat?

Yeah, but comparing Gesell to Hill is like comparing a rotten apple to a steaming dog turd.

doH! I should have said, (R)otten apple to a steam dog tur(D).

Missed that witty play on party politics. Sorry.

At least he doesn’t go around intentionally shooting and killing poor innocent law abiding african american men between 18-22 like the rest of the cops in america (according to current conventional wisdom).

That we know of. Not as much ‘opportunity’ here in Happytown, but his recent LTE conveys the same attitude and dog-whistle code language of many other Caucasian cops across the country.

BTW, did you know that there have been more people …innocent, minor infractions, otherwise ….killed by American cops in the last two months than have been killed by English policemen since 1900 up to today ?

..and this is a bad thing?

Help me out folks, I’m lost. I am trying to find the page in my taxpayer’s rule book that says that a white collar employee in any government role (City, County, State, Federal) can break rules, not fulfill their employment roles, and STILL get paid. Where is the page in the employee handbook that says paid administrative leave happens? Where does it say that White Collar Employees get payouts when they break rules, go on vacation and pay for family meals on the taxpayer’s dime?

Why don’t these guys just have their employment contracts terminated? If these guys fight the City, have them pay the City’s attorney fees. Accused criminals pay their own court costs, and most of them are broke. The police chief makes 157k……

Here is the reason they don’t. It’s called extortion. They (Employee’s caught) are told by their lawyers to let it go to court if the city wants to pursue. The city lawyers tell the city they are better to settle, as it will most likely be the cheapest option. Hence the employee figures they will most likely settle no matter what rather than take chance in court. Hence extortion. Does is suck? You bet!! Cities have lost their spines in taking a stand (in court) to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!

All of them are self serving agencies. Look at their contracts and it’s all right there in writing from the get go. It’s just part of the benefit packages that they give each other along with the extra days off, excessive overtime, accrued sick and vacation leave along with car allowances. We only hear about there pay but never about the additional 50 +/-% benefit and retirement packages that are received.

It’s called civil service and the rules are written by bureaucrats to protect bureaucrats.

Hey SLO Govt. Here is a piece of advice. Don’t be MORON’S like your brethren down the road. When negotiating a payout make sure you GET IN WRITING that he won’t pursue further legal action. I.E. don’t get him to pink swear he won’t.

screwing up is one thing, stealing money, pizza party ticket quotas, and whatever else will or wont surface is another. well you know why its a “closed session discussion”. too bad

Time out……back up the Paddy Wagon. How about the taxpayers of SLO negotiate (if any) the payout.

Why does every community in this county have to go through this absurd process. It is time to do away with ANY contract that says we will reward you for screwing up…PERIOD!


Apparently SLO learned NOTHING from the way AG’s former council handled tea/nook keg ate.

When employees violate policy, they should be placed on admin leave IMMEDIATELY, not weeks or months later. Now SLO will pay the price.

Businesses pay big $$$ for policy handbooks. The rules are simply spelled out, yet higher ups are choosing to ignore policy, and believe they can downplay, or coverup violations in a misguided attempt to protect someone’s rear end.

The city has an entire department along with legal counsel, who’s purpose is to limit the city’s exposure. How far up the chain of command does this mess go?

Oops, nookiegate.

“Higher ups” are not ignoring policy…they are writing it up as they go.

A payout is an example of yet another symptom…the public sector patient is SICK!