Gold Hill offers Gasso six months' pay

GOLD HILL — The City Council will offer six months' pay to settle with former Public Works Director Royal Gasso, who's threatening to sue the city over his July termination.

The $29,500 offer stipulates that Gasso will cease further action against the city, will never work for the city again and will return any city property or paperwork in his possession within 30 days.

The council unanimously agreed on the offer within six minutes during a special meeting Saturday.

Council member Mike Ely said he wanted to be sure the settlement agreement was "airtight" and would prevent further litigation from Gasso.

Ely said outside the meeting he was "very relieved that we are able to put closure to this and move forward with the things we need to do in Gold Hill."

Oregon State Police arrested Gasso May 16 on charges of possession of methadone and heroin and driving under the influence of intoxicants. He was placed on 30 days' administrative leave, then asked to voluntarily resign.

Gasso retained the services of Ashland attorney Carolyn Anderson, who specializes in employment-related matters. Anderson was unavailable Saturday to comment on whether Gasso would accept the city's offer. Anderson has said Gasso consistently met performance standards during his 12 years with the city, and that there should be a clear separation between work performance and off-duty issues.

Gasso has had a long history of troubles with drugs and alcohol.

On Feb. 9, he was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct near Wonder in Josephine County after an OSP trooper spotted Gasso walking on and over the fog line on Highway 199. The trooper reported that Gasso was highly intoxicated and belligerent.

As part of a federal drug sting in 2000, Gasso pleaded guilty to attempting to possess heroin, a felony. He was sentenced to 18 months' probation and 40 hours of community service. Because it was a parole violation, Gasso spent time in federal prison but continued to work for the city of Gold Hill, processing grants and other documents.

In the mid-1980s, Gasso was convicted in New York of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute.

According to court records, he has had several parole violations and a conviction in Jackson County of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at

Share This Story