ATASCADERO — The City of Atascadero has released Police Chief Robert (Bob) Masterson from his employment agreement with the City of Atascadero effective Wednesday, Sept. 14.

In accordance with Atascadero Municipal Code, the Council confirmed the release of Chief Masterson under Section 3.A of his employment contract which allows for release of an employee on a not-for-cause basis. According to the City, this clause is often included in employment contracts for municipal government executives and allows for release if the employee is not a good fit.

Chief Masterson and City Manager Rachelle Rickard state that “incompatible management styles” is the compelling reason behind the employment release.


Rickard stated, “Chief Masterson is a very capable Chief with strong leadership skills, so it was only after very careful consideration that it was decided to end Chief Masterson’s employment with the City.”

During Chief Masterson’s tenure, he worked to address and implement programs for the unhoused population by re-establishing the CAT Team (Community Action Team) and establishing the OUR Team.

In addition, he has sent officers to Critical Incident Stress Management training that supports officers in high-stress situations, led the team through the COVID timeframe, worked to revamp the budget and hired seven officers and four dispatchers.

“We appreciate Chief Masterson’s service to the City over the last 20 months and thank him for the dedication, integrity, commitment, and heart that he brought to the job every day,” stated Rickard.

Bob Masterson has held the Police Chief position since January 2021, replacing former Police Chief Jerel Haley, who had retired after leading the City’s Police Department for nine years.

The City wishes Bob well in his future endeavors and will begin the search for a new Police Chief in the months ahead.

The City stated they have no further comments to make on this matter.