Letters to the Editor

Better oversight

San Luis Obispo police Chief Stephen Gesell attended conferences for 48 days last year — over two month’s absence with pay.

The average chief of police in the county was gone only five days! Might these training dollars have been better utilized and shared among other officers?

Even more disturbing are reports of the chief’s reimbursements. Reports allege frequent meals in excess of per diem rates, selecting expensive lodging, car rentals when transportation is already provided and meal reimbursement after a conference, possibly including family members.

All this from our chief law enforcement officer who receives total compensation of over $250,000 annually.

City director of finance Wayne Padilla reportedly dismisses these alleged violations as “historical interpretation” of city policies.

Does this somehow make it OK?

City Manager Katie Lichtig proposes she approve department head’s expense reports and she and our city attorney approve each other’s expenses. This is a conflict of interest. The mayor and vice mayor should approve travel expenses of the city manager and city attorney who serve at the council’s pleasure.

The City Council must exercise its authority and oversight to better distribute and monitor travel expenses. I urge these matters be discussed in open session with public input.

If you share my concerns, please write, call or email city council at: emailcouncil@slocity.org.