SLO County official resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

May 14, 2019

Daniel “Colt” Esenwein


Daniel “Colt” Esenwein resigned as director of the San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made by several female employees, according to county sources. [Cal Coast Times]

During the investigation, Esenwein spent approximately a month on paid administrative leave. Esenwein submitted his resignation last week.

After former public works director Wade Horton became SLO County’s chief administrative officer in 2017, the county had a vacancy to fill. Following a lengthy selection process, in April 2018, the SLO County Board of Supervisors approved a contract that provided Esenwein $272,950 a year in total compensation.

Like Horton, Esenwein is a United States Navy veteran, having served in the Navy from 1990 to 1994. Esenwein also previously worked as the deputy public works director of Stanislaus County.

Cal Coast Times has submitted requests, under the Public Records Act, for records of the allegations and the investigation into sexual harassment.

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$270k for doing what again?

$270,000 would be a bargain for a leader that could fix the public works department, if correcting the leadership there is even possible.

Your memory does not serve you right. The two incidents you cite occurred in the City of SLO, not the County.

Antelope, you are incorrect. Wade Horton worked for the City of SLO and only recently the past few years has worked for the County of SLO.

Norse, nowhere in my response did I mention Wade Horton. What I said was the two incidents referenced occurred with the City of SLO, not the County. I stand by what I said!

Now, if memory services me right the County Administrator Wade Horton was in charge of the public works field inspectors when a low-life thief embezzled a bat-wing mower from the city for personal gain. Wade was also in charge of the manager in utilities who with all ill intent had his crew dump hazardous waste all over the city yard. Now Wade hires a guy based upon a quick internet search has a proclivity to sexually harass women in the workplace. Simply, great job Wade. You are a stellar example of an inept leader.

As a government employee, when a potential employer calls for a background check, the County is obliged by law to answer only the following questions.

1. Did Mr. Esenwein work for you?

2. What were the dates of his employment?

3. Was this his last salary compensation?

Nothing can be asked about the deportment of a government employee,, i.e., did he abuse his sick leave/vacation, why is he not working for you anymore, what type of an employee was he.

As a past government employee, we were told in the early 90’s we could only answer the three above questions.