Port San Luis commissioner continues bullying, harassment

August 13, 2021

Commissioner Robert Vessely

By KAREN VELIE

Shortly after the Port San Luis Harbor District agreed to pay a $150,000 settlement over allegations of bullying and harassment, Commissioner Bob Vessely doubled down again releasing a copy of a confidential document from closed session.

Vessely emailed the document to Chris Pavone, head of the professional fisherman’s association with the comment, “Just for your amusement – feel free to share.” Vessely’s email was forwarded to more than 50 commercial fishermen.

The district signed a settlement agreement on July 16 with Harbor Manager Andrea Lueker. The district agreed to pay Lueker $150,000 and raise her monthly salary from $13,733 to $16,000 until June 30, 2022, when Lueker’s employment with the agency would end.

“As staff and members of the public may be aware, regrettably over the past nine months during public meetings, unfounded allegations and accusations that were derogatory and defamatory were made,” according to a district statement released on July 27. “There were spates of disagreement sometimes derisive and contentious among both board members ourselves, staff, and the public.”

Lueker learned of Vessely’s email on Aug. 3. The next day, she suffered a high-stress related heart attack, which left her in an intensive care unit for three days.

This is the second time in a year that Vessely allegedly violated the law in an attempt to demean a harbor district staffer. In February, the harbor district board publicly reprimanded Vessely for providing confidential documents to a third party in violation of the Brown Act.

“Commissioner Bob Vessely did willfully and knowingly forward a document, dated December 30, 2020, clearly marked Confidential Communication -Personnel Matter and pertaining to confidential personnel matters, to a third party not authorized to receive such documents,” according to the district’s resolution of reprimand. “This action by Commissioner Vessely violated the public trust and the implicit trust of fellow harbor commissioners to be ethical in the dealings of Port San Luis Harbor District.”

Vessely emailed the confidential document to his wife, Susan Devine, who was one of former San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill’s legislative aids.

Last fall, amid the defund the police movement, Vessely wanted to rewrite the harbor patrol’s use of force rules, but received little support from the board and staff. Since then, three female employees have reported what they call ongoing bullying and harassment.

In March, the harbor district served Vessely a cease-and-desist letter to stop bullying, harassing, slandering and threatening a staffer. That employee, Karen O’Brien, had discovered Vessely’s initial violation of the Brown Act.

“On behalf of the Port San Luis Harbor District, I am directing you to cease-and-desist contacting Ms. O’Brien and all other actions that have constituted threatening, bulling and intimidation,” the letters says. “Finally, understand that it is illegal and inappropriate to retaliate against any person who has participated in or provided information regarding the issues provided in this correspondence.”

Even though the district is facing additional legal actions because of Vessely’s alleged ongoing harassment, Vessely’s fellow board members’ hands are tied, Commissioner Jim Blecha said.

“I do not agree with what Mr. Vessely said,” Blecha said. “Everybody on the board is of equal status.”

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MBwaiter

As I posted on the SSCSD story the common link to the problems of the Port and to IWMA and SSCSD and to Oceano and to every other City or District he has worked for is Jeffery Minnery. He is on leave from his firm but the firm should have to pay back every single penny paid to it for the bad and terrible legal advice that he provided. It really does matter who your legal counsel is.


obispan

Yet one more corrupt and overpriced fiefdom that needs to be under the auspices of our County Board of Supervisors, though Bruce Gibson and Dawn Ortiz-Legg advocate for as much useless, duplicitous, and wasteful government as possible, it will be at least be more public.


Cindy

Those involved in the SLO women’s march support a group of men, including Vessely, who disrespect women, whether they cheat on their wives or degrade women who do not bow down to them. The Tribune and New Times slammed several Republican women for not marching with Adam Hill, Bruce Gibson and Tom Fulks in the women’s march, men who cheat on their wives and degrade women for political power, or maybe a criminal edge.


It is time for our community to stand together for justice and equality for all regardless of political party. That is, unless the SLO women’s march is a political organization with a goal of demeaning those who do not support the SLO Progressives, which was founded by an employee of Helios Dayspring and Heidi Harmon.


obispan

We already know about Hill and Gibson. Please elaborate on Tom Fulks, not that I’m surprised about these birds of a feather.


kayaknut

Why should Mr. Vessely care about his performance or lack of when any financial penalties imposed from his actions are paid for by the district taxpayers instead of by him. Until that changes it is unlikely he will change since there are no real consequences for his actions. Removing him from office may be the only option.


Simple Guy who works hard

Mr.Vessly juast a couple of things…

1. Port San Luis is located at 3950 Avila Beach Dr.-as a Commissioner you should visit it, besides for a meeting

2. Not long ago you voted in favor of Lexipol- and now your woke?

3. Your not woke, your as privileged as they come

4. Integrity= the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness A for future reference

Please think about the above and politely resign from your duties.


OnlyinSLO

Yes, he is an asshole, and because he has no personal accountability he will continue to run his fiefdom as his majesty deems fit. However, anyone that knows Lueker knows that she is not an innocent. Her issue is that he is simply the male version of her. She is simply more clever at it and covert.


Redsoxman

Please enlighten us with facts (not opinions) on why you find Lueker the female version of Vessely. More clever and covert at “what”?


mb business owner

Nice work Karen and Cal Coast News. Too bad the Tribune continues to ignore this news.


SLO Friend

So Vessely is not only up to it again, he never stopped. Even after a reprimand and a cease a desist letter he continued with his infantile behavior and Brown Act Violations. And to know the District issued a statement on July 27th that states “regrettably over the past nine months during public meetings, unfounded allegations and accusations that were derogatory and defamatory were made” – so he’s a liar to boot!


He should resign and those who supported him by attending the board of commissioner meetings in an attempt to intimidate should be ashamed – Ortiz Legg, Sue Divine, Eric Howell, Bruce Gibson, Erica Stewart, just to name a few. Sounds like Vessely will be costing the District even more, not to mention the likelihood of other employees leaving due his abusive.