Steve Gesell seeking work in North Dakota
August 14, 2015
Former San Luis Obispo police chief Steve Gesell, who was recently forced out of the top cop job in SLO, is pursuing work in North Dakota. [Tribune]
Gesell is one of 13 applicants for the position of Fargo police chief, a job that pays considerably less than the role of chief in San Luis Obispo. Gesell previously stated he would move to Arizona and possibly run against Joe Arpaio for Maricopa County sheriff.
But Gesell now says he and his family have had second thoughts about moving to Arizona. He likely will not run against Arpaio because of another candidate he expects to enter the race, Gesell said.
The police chief position in Fargo comes with a base pay of $118,789 to $154,400. As San Luis Obispo chief, Gesell was receiving a base salary of approximately $160,000. His salary would have jumped to approximately $188,000, due to a recent pay hike for the position.
Gesell left the San Luis Obispo job in May after a feud with City Manager Katie Lichtig. Gesell received a $120,000 severance package, and Lichtig has not disclosed specifically why she chose to part ways with Gesell.
City sources claimed Gesell threatened to disclose information about city management if he was not provided a settlement.
In January, CalCoastNews reported Gesell violated city travel reimbursement policies on several occasions, often making the city foot the bill for conferences that turned into family trips. Around the same time, Gesell applied for the police chief job in Chico.
However, Gesell told SLO police staff he had no plans to leave the city, and his attorney stated the same publicly, even as Gesell became a leading candidate for the Chico job. Gesell withdrew his candidacy for the position shortly after members of the Chico police union visited San Luis Obispo to investigate Gesell’s background.
The previous Fargo police chief resigned after officers criticized his handling of internal discipline issues, saying it created low morale in the department. Gesell stated on his application for the Fargo job that he significantly improved employee morale in San Luis Obispo, doing so in a challenging political climate.
The city of Fargo is accepting applications for the position through Aug. 21. Interviews have yet to begin.
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