Paso Robles council to hire new city manager

November 16, 2015

PASO ROBLES BRICK SIGNThe Paso Robles City Council is expected to hire the city manager of Pacific Grove as the replacement for Jim App, who is retiring from his role as the city’s chief executive at the end of the year. [Tribune]

Thomas Frutchey, 65, has served as city manager of the coastal Monterey County city for the last six years. He emerged from a field of 48 candidates for the Paso Robles position, and the city council is slated to formally hire Frutchey during its meeting Tuesday evening.

Frutchey has previously held city manager jobs in Oxnard, Campbell and Los Altos Hills. He has also worked as the vice president of the Center for Policy Studies in Camarillo, vice president of Underground Technology Inc. in Ventura and president of Borla Performance Industries in Oxnard.

Thomas Frutchey

Thomas Frutchey

Of the 48 applicants, seven were interviewed by panels consisting of city council members, professionals, community members and Mayor Steve Martin. The city council re-interviewed the top three candidates.

If the council hires Frutchey on Tuesday, he will take over as Paso Robles city manager on Jan. 17. Assistant City Manager Meg Williamson will serve as acting city manager when App retires on Dec. 30.

City officials have yet to disclose the proposed terms of Frutchey’s contract.

App’s current salary is $194,000. The salary range for the Paso Robles city manager position is $150,000 to $225,000.

App is retiring after having spent 25 years as an employee of Paso Robles and 18 year as its city manager.

In 2012, App guided the city through a sex scandal that led to the ousting of police chief Lisa Solomon, who he once referred to in an email as “Lovely Lisa Meter Maid.” App survived calls for his firing during public protest of the city’s handling of the Solomon affair.

App said Frutchey has the right mix of public and private sector experience the city council was looking for. The main challenges Frutchey will face are the city’s slow recovery from the recession and potential groundwater litigation, App said.

Frutchey said App has set a really high standard and that he is eager to get to work.

JB Bronson

Jim App had a choke hold on City Employees and City Council. This will be his legacy.

Let’s hope that employees and council members will be free to flourish and correct the App culture for the sake of their town.


I thought vetting was to find out all about a new canidate for hire,if this is done properly, to my way of thinking, all of what Slobird put out would seem to be enough to not hire someone,so why do these councils hire people that have known problems,Morro Bay we have a guy fired by the Military,los Osos we have a lady that has a troubled past with money,and yet our elected people hire these has beens. I don’t get it.

Mr. Holly

Don’t forget about the new police chief to be in SLO. She too has a troubled past. I guess government is a place to park these people that waste our tax money for their personal gain.

Maybe we the people will wake up one day and say enough is enough.


This guy looks older than dirt. I fail to understand why the local government agencies insist on hiring other county’s, city’s and government agencies’ discards and has beens. The colleges having been graduating city planners and young people looking to upgrade and bring in new ideas for years. Let’s have a fresh voice and ideas. Time out for the old, tired, and corrupt.


The very controversial City Manager of Oxnard and Pacific Grove. At both locations he fired numerous staff during his first month, then brought on his whores at massive increases in pay to back fill those same jobs. He is a tyrant by all accounts. Just read about the controversies of this guy every where he has worked. So the more controversial you are as a city manager, the more pay the stupid council will give you.


I live in Los Osos and you can have ours if you want…


Retiring?????? Just how much is the city paying him to “go away?”

I have a suggestion. As part of this so-called retirement package, deduct all the hush money payouts paid to former employees to “go away” from App’s salary package. It’s only fair.

Jorge Estrada

Maybe all gov jobs should be voluntary, something for them to do after mastering their own life. Paying them to follow set rules seems to be a waste and if they break rules then they can be instantly removed without additional expense to the taxpayers. The idea is to assure that our taxes only fund the unmet needs..


I have zero confidence in Paso’s ability to select a new city manager.

The city kept James App WAY past when he should have been FIRED…not allowed to work until he wanted to quit and receive a fat pension plan.


There seems to be a pattern of hanger-on-ers all around us Mary.

In the private sector, these people get F–I–R–E–D!!


Mr. Thomas Frutchey is looking to boast his pension.

1. Oxnard Expected to Fire City Manager Tonight – latimes

Feb 4, 1997 – Government: Sources say Thomas Frutchey was told Friday to quit or be fired. … After months of heated discussion and debate, the Oxnard City Council is expected to terminate City Manager Tom Frutchey’s contract tonight during a special council meeting. … “Where does the accountability …

2. Silly Censorship by Pacific Grove City Manager Tom Frutchey…/persistent-censorship-pg-city-manager-tom-frutche…

Apr 3, 2012 – Tom Frutchey does not like criticism of his many failings as City Manager of Pacific Grove. Recently, to intimidate a resident who told the City ..

3. California watches as small city goes after Calpers | Reuters…/us-usa-california-municipalities-pension-idU...


Mar 26, 2013 – “We have kept cutting and cutting city services just to keep up our payments to Calpers, and to fund the pension bond,” said Thomas Frutchey,

And there is more. Should be interesting for Paso Robles! Red flags always go up when a City Manager, moves to another City, and then moves again, and again… At 65, you have to ask why? Read item No. 2


Paso doesn’t have a good history for getting rid of problem city managers….the fact that James App has been allowed to retain his position long after he should have been drop-kicked from his position is testimony to the ability of Paso to get rid of a failure of a city manager.

Mr. Holly

Sounds like a very qualified individual. Although I’m sure that part of his hiring package will have some funds made available for relocation. Nothing against age,but? Mr, Frutchey should be considering retirement shortly especially if he is already privy to some type of excellent retirement. Are the people of Paso Robles spending tax money for a retirement relocation and then will have to go thru this process again in a couple of years?

just food for thought.


If he performs like App, yes. If he excels, no


You are spot on Mr. Holly. PERS will pay out retirement for life based on the number of years in the system by a factor (1.6 to 3%) of salary of the highest full 12 months. Persons of his age in public service are looking to put in their 12 months, get the jurisdiction to give them moving perks and sometimes for top administrators, a car and rental for a short time. Then they pull the plug, typically after being a place holder. That being said, given the city history of hiring and firing, a short stint may be a good thing.


There will be a public pension reform measure on the ballot next year sponsored by Chuck Reed and many others. Please vote YES.

Government employees are paid far more than their counterparts in the private sector and retire with benefits most people can only dream of, regardless of how well they actually performed. Remember, every dollar going to them is less money for streets and roads, school books,sewers,parks, playgrounds, etc. I don’t begrudge anyone a pension but it should be commensurate with what others get in the private sector. If these city managers were truly MANAGERS cities wouldn’t be in this mess!