Paso Robles councilman discusses allegations he disparaged staff

March 21, 2024

Paso Robles City Councilman Chris Bausch


Following a meeting with the mayor and the city manager, Councilman Chris Bausch apologized for concerns he disparaged staff and asked that anyone who feels threatened file a whistleblower complaint.

On March 8, Bausch, Mayor John Hamon and City Manager Ty Lewis met at Angela’s Pastries. During the meeting, which was overheard by a reporter at an adjacent table, Lewis repeatedly said his “job is to put out a positive image.”

Lewis appeared to chastise Bausch, saying the councilman was sending mixed messages to staff during city council meetings. Hamon and Lewis noted a need to be careful about words used such as “staff.”

“I am very careful about what I say,” Hamon said.

During city council meetings, Bausch uses the word staff when describing agendized staff reports, which are typically the work of management. Reporters regularly refer to staff reports in news stories, which are generally distributed by city managers and county administrators. Even so, Lewis and Hamon said they were concerned that Bausch was sending mixed messages to staff.

During Tuesday’s Paso Robles City Council meeting, Bausch apologized if he made anyone employed by the city uncomfortable during meetings. He then asked that anyone facing intimidation or threats file a whistleblower report.

Councilman Bausch’s statement:

On the heels of the agendized staff introductions, I’d like to offer an apology to all city staff for any comments I have made to make anyone feel uncomfortable or unappreciated. I apologize.

After our last council meeting, I was invited to meet with Mayor Hamon and City Manager Lewis to discuss the way I treat city employees and staff. It seems that a fellow council member had complained that city staff takes offense when I use the term “staff.”

Upon probing a little deeper, it seems the complaint only applies during discussions here on the dais and then only with regards to the city’s paid parking. Thankfully, there were no complaints regarding my day to day interaction with city employees. In fact, they said I seem to be reasonably behaved during all other times.

To correct my error, City Manager Lewis noted that to avoid disparaging all of our staff, I should begin using the actual names of any employees I may disagree with. However, since we receive our council agenda reports from “city staff,” I will in all likelihood continue to reference “staff” from time to time in my remarks.

From here on out, unless otherwise noted, city staff may console themselves knowing that the staff I refer to is strictly limited to those who prepared the particular and unique staff report that I happen to be referencing. If anyone is ever in doubt, please reach out to me. I promise to be nice.

Both the mayor and the city manager went to great lengths to assure me that their meeting with me was to ensure that I learn to work together with them to present only a positive image of the city council. They were very clear that the meeting was not at all intended to bring my opposition to the city’s paid parking program into alignment with the majority of city council and staff.

We went on to discuss how it came to be that the employees who felt threatened by me or by anyone working here were not able to share their feelings directly. It seems that the city does indeed have a robust whistleblower protection policy in place. Every city employee, every staff member, and anyone who seeks city services, or conducts any business or approval with the city should rest assured that retaliation by the city or any city employee will not be tolerated.

If any retaliation is happening now, in the past, or in the future, it should be reported immediately.

In closing, as I have said on numerous occasions, I truly believe we have the very best staff that I have worked with in my twelve years of public service. I am very appreciative of their hard work, creativity, dedication and service. I regret that my words or action would have ever suggested otherwise.


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Good grief!! Can we please get some people on the council with some integrity, intelligence and concern for the citizens that call Paso Robles home?! How do you sleep at night?!

I don’t live within city limits so I can’t vote for Paso Robles city officials but the whole lot seems like a bunch of squabbling children. The real issue that affects me personally is the downtown parking. I refused for the entire time the whole kiosk paid parking debacle was in place to park anywhere downtown or go to any down town businesses. Although they were the true victims of the parking situation, I cannot put myself through the confusing ridiculous parking rules. My daughter received 2 tickets and paid $50.00 for each because she used to go to Central Coast Spa and the parking rules changed in the adjacent parking lot with confusing signage. She has found a new place to get services that has ample free parking. I also had not been to my favorite Japanese Restaurant, Yanagi in over 2 years. Since they have temporarily stopped paid parking I did go to Yanagi recently and had my favorite sushi. The City of Paso Robles cares nothing for the businesses or residents. Get rid of the whole lot and start over.

Totally agree. I don’t go to SLO anymore either. Same reason further complicated by unintelligible street markings. Those who come up with this s… stuff are lucky to be called “staff”. If pressed, I could probably come up with some other things to call them.

In the Army, I was once a Staff Sergeant. Yes, I made sure a lot of my people were uncomfortable :)

The best part of the article is that Angela’s Pastries got some publicity!

It seems likely that Bausch was hoping to get a gotcha moment on Mayor/City Manager re: paid parking. Its usually not a coincidence when a conversation is “overheard by a reporter at an adjacent table.” All we get is this nonsense about using the word “staff” and a silly, sarcastic non-apology. This is exposing petty Paso amateur politics on both sides. Clearly they will respect/trust each other even less after this episode.

Next time Paso should hire/elect some grownups.

Snowflake government bureaucrats need to get over themselves.

Somewhere in this story there is a “staff infection” joke waiting to be written by some creative person. Karen Velie may have missed an excellent opportunity to include a clever editorial cartoon with this piece.