Steve Gesell seeking work in North Dakota

August 14, 2015
Steve Gesell

Steve Gesell

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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Gesell did not get fired for violation of the City’s travel reimbursement policies, which if fact did not exist for department heads. I believe he did misuse City travel money, though he did reimburse the City after this came to light. I do not believe that this is why he was fired. And we will never know why he was fired.


He should watch the Coen Brothers film “FARGO”. Great movie, but what a bleak landscape in the winter!

He should have taken the undersheriff job when sheriff Parkinson wanted to hire him, because they were such close friends at the time.


They should give this clown his own tv show. He has to be a few rungs higher on his own ladder of narcissism than any of the kardashians. As if anyone cares what hole this guy is going to crawl into to feed at the govt teet for a little longer.

The only headlines on this guy should be that the atty general is filing criminal charges for theft and misuse of public money on the family vacations during which he fleeced the city of SLO. Maybe also a report on if he lied to the public and the press about his trip to Israel, remember the confusion about the plane fare from slo to LAX and the “not one dime of taxpayer money was spent on this trip” statement. Yes of course he was always going to pay for that fare even though he had it paid out of the training budget for officers. Truly sad that not one of the SLO politicians cares enough to investigate the criminal acts of the former chief and even more insulting to the taxpayer that a severance package of 120k was paid as hush money.

Now just go away Steve, no one cares! You are right about one thing, morale was boosted at slopd, but only as a result of you getting fired.


Like Tony Ferrara, and Steve Adams from AG…you miss them like a bad headache.

The Daily

His wife and kids are going to say “WTF?” after their first winter there.


Winter over there? In Fargo?

Why wouldn’t he follow the mentoring from Lichtig and “winter over” in Scottsdale or some other place with a more benign climate. Scottsdale ain’t Malibu but what the heck!