It won’t be an easy gig, but people are actually competing to take over where Paso Robles’s disgraced former chief Lisa Solomon left off. The department is grappling with budget cuts, a gang problem, and three lawsuits relating to Solomon’s tenure. She resigned in March amid accusations of sexual misconduct and retaliation against staffers who complained about her managerial methods and alleged ticket quotas.
Since then, the city manager’s office has reviewed résumés and will invite six to eight applicants to town for a full day of interviews. The date hasn’t been set, but city council members each have until Oct. 2 to select one community representative (the mayor gets to pick two!) who will sit on one of three interview panels charged with whittling the field down to the top two or three. The council members themselves have no say in the selection until they approve or reject City Manager Jim App’s decision.
“The process will be enriched by public input,” App said at the city’s Sept. 18 session.
Anyone who wishes to be considered for the panel can contact city hall at 227-7276. The process is expected to last 10 hours, as each applicant will take questions from all three panels, which will each consist of a police chief, a few officers, reps of the city manager’s office, and two citizens.
“We’ll try to have a cross section of the community,” Mayor Duane Picanco said. “I’m hoping we can find a chief who can relate to the community, who can be visible and accessible.”