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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Good Luck…….Fargo, you’ll need it.

Jorge Estrada

He’ll have a very quick Michelle Dostier to chat about SLO politics. Actually, North Dakota has great investment opportunities.


One thing is for sure, on his watch more officers were arrested and let go than in the past 10 years, complaints were at an all time high. City settlements as well once he left the inner corruption in the many task forces seem to all disappear.

MTF-NTF-GTF-SET-SLOPDTF and more, so I truly hope the City hires from within we have a Captain that is well respected, well trained and ready to take charge


Yea, that is what we need, more in-house corruption. If Lickit likes her choices it will happen but then we know that person will be a “yes madam, how high should I jump?” Fixes in with SLO management model!


Ohhh yaahhhh, you betchya!

A bit cold there, don’tchya know?

Stay away from the wood chipper.


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.


Gesell is a hypocrite who demanded ethical behavior in everyone but himself.

He has no business being a police officer let alone a Chief of Police.


Is his application a matter of public record? I am curious how you know this.

I think what Gesell did in SLO was DISGUSTING. Ignorance to the law/rule/policy is NO excuse when you are in charge!

That said, the man is entitled to some level of privacy. It is one thing to post an article about his movements I guess, as he was so scummy here. If Fargo wants to hire him, then they would be smart and research him. Googling him would fetch all these articles!

My concern in this matter is not for Gesell himself technically. It is about the preservation of a certain level of privacy for all citizens. When we as a society stop honoring a certain level of personal privacy, it could potentially open up a pandora’s box of privacy issues.

Just a thought to ponder.

Jorge Estrada

I once traveled through Minot, N Dakota, at -40, I truely know what a cold day in hell is like.

If Gesell is lucky he will not get the job but will have demonstrated his willingness to go there.


He’ll have to learn to finish all sentences in “eh!”


Gessell can live considerably better in N Dakota on the salary that is being offered even at the low end of the salary. Lot’s of open space, land is “cheap”, low crime and anything over 100K is an excellent salary.

I’m not so sure that Fargo N Dakota will be interested in him though. Not with the history of his shenanigans with the tax payer $$ and extensive “business related” trips. Especially his B.S. trip to Israel ! Geeez


It’s also a lot cheaper to live in Fargo, where you can buy a great house for around $200K


Good luck, Steve! I am sure not having to deal with Lickit and the Council are reward enough although Fargo is a little extreme. Wish you the best!