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Paso's first choice for police chief declines job offer 

The San Diego Police Department captain who wooed Paso Robles residents and officials with his 29 years of law enforcement experience and “positive air of confidence” during recent community interview panels withdrew his candidacy to become the city’s next chief of police, Mayor Duane Picanco revealed in a Jan. 3 press release.

According to Picanco, Manny Guaderrama’s decision was based at least partially on compensation and the fact that his wife would have to close her business to move to Paso Robles. The police chief position comes with a $157,644 salary, according to a human resources executive salary document.

Interim Police Chief Robert Burton has run the department since former chief Lisa Solomon resigned in March 2012 amid allegations of sexual harassment, unfair retaliation, and illegal traffic-ticket quotas. Burton will continue to act as chief until a permanent replacement can be found, Picanco wrote, and the professional services firm charged with finding a new chief will reinitiate the search without charging the city extra, a process that Picanco estimated would take another five months.

City Manager Jim App said that more than 60 applicants were whittled down to the top six candidates, all of which were amply qualified for the post but failed to mesh well with community leaders and police department employees, except Guaderrama. Thus, the entire process will have to begin anew.

“It’s pretty subjective, but it all comes down to who fits with the community and the department,” App said. “The selection process will continue until we find the right person.”

In an odd break from normal procedure, App announced in early December that Guaderrama was the city’s preferred finalist, citing public pressure to reveal the decision. This came before staff had a chance to perform a proper background check and before the job was formally offered or accepted.

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