SLO to spend $20,000 more on probing ‘sexist’ video

April 4, 2017

The San Luis Obispo City Council will consider allocating on Tuesday an additional $20,000 to wrap up an investigation into personnel complaints against City Manager Katie Lichtig and Fire Chief Garret Olson, which were prompted by a video that allegedly sexually objectified firefighters. The investigation has already cost the city $50,000.

Intended as a spoof to promote the SLO Chamber of Commerce, the video showed female chamber employees asking Olson about full monty calendars and hot, shirtless firefighters. The video was shown at the annual SLO Chamber of Commerce dinner on Jan. 20.

After the video spread, the city received two personnel complaints naming Lichtig and Olson and alleging 11 violations of city workplace policies. Additionally, the San Luis Obispo firefighters’ union issued a public request for the city to mount an investigation into the sexual objectification of firefighters by city officials.

On Feb. 10, the city entered an agreement with the Santa Ana law firm Burke, Williams & Sorenson to conduct an investigation into the case. The contract set a maximum price tag of $50,000, but the agreement required approval from Assistant City Manager Derek Johnson for funds spent in excess of $15,000.

The additional $20,000, which would bring the total cost to $70,000, is beyond Johnson’s spending limit.

City Attorney Christine Dietrick said in a staff report that costs have increased due to added complaints, scheduling issues and follow-up interviews with witnesses and complainants. The additional $20,000 is expected to be enough to complete the investigation, according to Dietrick’s report.

In addition to receiving personnel complaints, the city also received a letter threatening a lawsuit over the city’s handling of the investigation. The letter alleged the city issued a gag order to stop individuals involved in the case from talking about it. The letter also objected to Human Resources Director Monica Irons making initial inquiries about the complaint before the city hired an independent investigator.

Katy Suttrop, Burke, Williams & Sorenson’s investigator began making inquiries in the case in mid-February. Suttrop’s investigative work is now complete or nearing completion.

Burke, Williams & Sorenson’s contract only tasks the law firm with fact finding and giving the city legal advice. The law firm is not responsible for determining whether any law or statutes were violated.

Once the private investigation is complete, it is then up to Dietrick and Irons to advise the city council about whether or not to take any disciplinary action against Lichtig. A city official will be appointed in Lichtig’s place to decide — with help from Dietrick and Irons — whether to discipline Olson.


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demiseofslo

This is fucking ridiculous. $70k to investigate a Youtube video. WTF?! Is Donald Trump issuing you a list of your priorities?


PATHETIC. ALL OF THESES PEOPLE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES THE WAY THEY ARE WASTING RESOURCES AND TAX PAYER MONEY!!!


rjakelian

This is absurd, thats a huge amount of money, for what? and the bonus timing, someone should be docked for this waste…If the video was made with city money, time, supplies, those responsible should pay it back and be reprimanded. The content of the video was lame, in poor taste.


Pelican1

Don’t forget the $2,000.00 proposed bonuses most of these bozo’s will be receiving as well……

TALK ABOUT WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE…


1965buick

Finally! The city of SLO gets their priorities straight.


rukidding

This is the fox guarding the hen house. Does anyone really think that anything at all will become of this. It appears that the format is that they will be judging themselves. It’s very apparent that they should not be trusted with making any decisions, now and forever, after authorizing $70,000 for this fiasco. Oh, I wonder why we haven’t heard all about the high cost of staff time that has been used trying to handle this complaint. As usual with anything like this we should expect some promotions and salary increases to follow.


r0y

$70,000 is a lot more than many people in this town make in an entire year. What costs so damn much? Or is it because it’s a “city” who just ignorantly pays, the leech firm… law firm charges whatever it wants? We have such awesome management and civic leaders, don’t we?


I mean, I could get mad at the scum-suckers, but they are acting as I would expect them to act; it is the moronic bureaucrats who (I’m sure) somehow rationalize that $70,000 is “reasonable” for the “work” being done.


kayaknut

“$70,000 is a lot more than many people in this town make in an entire year” and it’s what Katie Lichtig makes in about 2 months, and yet she acts like this, but nothing will change, this is life in the public sector.


1965buick

Also, if you figure 500 bucks an hour, that’s 140 hours of ‘investigative work’. Sounds reasonable. Not.


Ricky2

At $500 per hour for their fancy attorney, $70,000 disappears in a heartbeat.


paragon

Can they take the costs of this investigation out of the bonuses all the city management will be getting (according to a separate article)? It only seems fair.


Ricky2

Oh, cannot do. Lichtig and Dietrick deserve even more than they get now. Musn’t penalize the worthy ones.


copperhead

The continuing stupidity of government. No one can be fired, everyone gets offended for political gain, and we pay the bills. Time to raise the sales tax another half percent, temporarily of course.


How about government pukes who screw up having to pay their own legal fees and penalties.


The Identarian

Feminism costs money. Everyone’s offended, everyone sues. If you personally know a feminist, try and teach them humor, barring that, at least teach them to laugh.


copperhead

That’s sexist. I’m offended. (is there a font for sarcasm)