Arroyo Grande council eyes reopening Adams inquiry

August 27, 2014
AG Council Member Tim Brown

AG council member Tim Brown

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

Stung by accusations of a cover-up, the Arroyo Grande City Council Tuesday decided to probe further into a late-night rendezvous between two officials who were discovered in a darkened City Hall last month.

Prodded by council member Tim Brown and a string of angry residents, the panel decided to set a date to consider an independent investigation into the July 3 incident involving City Manager Steve Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish.

More than 70 people attended the overflow meeting, including a dozen public safety officers.

The council may set an emergency meeting for next week, or may handle the issue at its next regularly slated meeting.

According to law enforcement records and reports of people who were present at the scene, the pair appeared “disheveled” when found following a 911 call for assistance from McClish’s husband. He was concerned about his wife’s heart condition, he told officers.

Police officers responding to the call later reported feeling “uncomfortable” by the circumstances.

When CalCoastNews reported the incident last week, Mayor Tony Ferrara denounced the website and asserted that an internal investigation by an assistant city attorney found no “wrongdoing.”

Deputy City Attorney Michael McMahon conducted an inquiry into the incident, and told council members Tuesday he had “not skewed the report in any way.” He noted that the officers had said they did not find the pair in a sexual encounter. Then he contended that Adams and McClish said they were fully clothed when discovered, which differed from officer accounts.

In his cautiously crafted commentary, McMahon said,“There was not evidence that improper sexual behavior occurred.”

Nevertheless, as details of the incident surfaced in the 18,000-population village, residents began expressing “embarrassment” and “suspicion” and demanding a more thorough investigation.

Adams attended the meeting but made no comment about the episode.


114 Comments

  1. AGDUDE says:

    Tim Brown is supported by Caren Ray, What does these Mean, Look at her face Book Page, Big Ole Photo With Clinton.. Where are the Running Hairs Now??? lol

    These People Are Confused, did you see the section Where Brown Tried to hide the closed Session..About Adams??? Hmmm

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. roberttorrance says:

    ag city council is extremely inept….just approved $100k to Verdun Marketing to market the wanter conservation plan? RUFKM?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. StakeHolder says:

    So, finally a letter to the editor is posted in the Tribune this morning. I am amazed that no one has written in to complain about the bias of their editorial. So this morning they print a letter from Jim Carlson, who was praising the article and making fun of those who were brave enough to step forward at the City Council meeting and speak out. (wonder why folks are afraid to speak publically about their opinions?) Google Mr. Carlson…he is on the AG Traffic Commission. Can I only assume that he was the ONLY writer on the subject? Does anyone ever read the Tribune any more?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 5

    • AGDUDE says:

      People On the Commissions are appointed by the council people.. but in general its not legal for the councilmen to tell them what to do in general in most cases nothing is discussed,at least I was never told any thing by the councilor who appointed myself, I was on for 5 years..

      I’m thinking of burning my letter from the Mayor thats framed in my office .. I was I could Say I had pride in Arroyo Grande, I know all these People, to be honest I’m shocked , and I know there is more to the story.. People Need to stand up for whats right.

      Former Member of the A.R.C Board. co-chair

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Mike Byrd says:

    If anyone wants to asked the Grand Jury to conduct an unbiased investigation into what happened, if any city laws or policies were violated and if enforcement of city policies at all levels of city government are uniform, here is the link to the form that must be mailed or hand delivered:

    http://slocourts.net/grand_jury/citizen_complaint_forms

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

    • panflash says:

      Keep in mind that the GJ would probably need to focus on the matter of impropriety on the part of public officials, rather than any “crimes” as such. Not many people know this, but a little-known aspect of California law does provide for civil grand juries to file criminal charges, but it would be difficult to utilize it in any event. Throughout the state the local DAs offices and the court judges would dearly love to see the California civil GJ law vanish, so they do everything they can to minimize the powers exercised by the local GJs.

      But the behavior of public officials is definitely within the purview of civil grand juries, and the timing in this case is excellent because the new SLO GJ should be, right now, considering which cases it wishes to investigate during their term (which expires June 30, 2015).

      So, yes- for anyone who is serious about this matter, now is the time to file a complaint with the SLO civil GJ, and they might just take this case on. But also keep in mind that a civil GJ is only as good as the people who comprise it. Unfortunately, the local GJ is often stacked with nice little old ladies and Rotary Club-type good ‘ol boys who don’t like to rock any boats, so keep your expectations in check here.

      Further, the GJ resulting report would take several months to complete, but they do have the power to subpoena and put the AG officials under oath to testify. The GJ report may only recommend reprimands to officials charged, but at the very least they could put some public officials in the uncomfortable position of lying under oath.

      Go for it, and good luck.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  5. Julie says:

    What is wrong with the Tribune? Today’s editorial disses the public, making it sound as though the 60+ residents of Arroyo Grande and the parade of speakers are making hay over an untucked shirt.

    The Trib characterizes the “wracked up” legal bill of $1,254 as a mass amount of money. I would venture to guess the cost to the city is 10x that by now and will continue to rise.

    I do want to say that my inquiries for information (resulted in the timeline opinion piece CCN posted Tuesday) Arroyo Grande staff has been incredibly professional and responsive to requests. Thank you!

    In fact, I must also say that I have NEVER seen the turn around on public record requests as swift as they are coming out of AG (some documents coming back in only hours) by any other agency I have made requests of. (November 29 marks 2 years since I requested 6 years of email between Bruce & Cherie; and still do not have 3 years worth).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 9

    • panflash says:

      Julie, thanks again for your concentrated focus on this. Of course, we know what’s wrong with the Tribune- that’s why it’s dying such a slow and agonizing death.

      As for the AG staff- well, maybe they’re just sick of working in such a slimy environment and, like the rest of us, would like to see decent people in charge of their city government for a change.

      On that last point, we can only hope.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 6

    • agag1 says:

      TT=TT
      Telegram Tribune = Team Tony
      We’re kidding ourselves if we expect them to ever admit they’ve been propping up the biggest part of the problem.
      With regards to city staff, I’d bet most of them are good, hard working folks. It used to be that the cream rose to the top, these days it seems as though an awful lot of crooks and creeps reap the rewards.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

    • changes says:

      Thank you Julie for your commitment to reporting the facts. The Tribune’s lack
      of effort to report “unbiased” news in our community or even to report the news
      is apparent.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

    • MaryMalone says:

      QUOTING JULIE: “I do want to say that my inquiries for information (resulted in the timeline opinion piece CCN posted Tuesday) Arroyo Grande staff has been incredibly professional and responsive to requests.”

      INDEED. After all you have gone through to get simple records from Oceano CSD, it must be an amazing relief to have a government agency be so prompt in replying to citizens’ requests for information.

      In the long run, AG is playing it smart because prompt compliance with requests for records supports the impression of the agency’s willingness to cooperate in innosence or, at the very least, a willingness to get to the truth.

      I’ve never understood OCSD’s game of withholding records. It just screams “COVER UP.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    • dogeatdog says:

      Tony stated this is a grey cloud he hopes passes quickly, they want to move on to the election and act like this has not happened.

      The bottom line is had Karen not broke the story we the citizens would still not know about this. Once we found out the forces to be have tried to cover it up. The staff has been given their orders and will do their job.

      One thing I don’t understand is why does Tony have an office at city hall? I think that might be a conflict right there.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  6. wineguyjc says:

    Tim, good for you. I hope you can bring integrity back to Arroyo Grande. After this is resolved you need to do a cleaning of the staff who play ball in the local parks during the day and the one guy who goes home and surfs twice a week in the evening on City time with a City vehicle in the parking lot. You have a lot to clean up in AG.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

    • kayaknut says:

      I hope so too, but you have to admit most people will be skeptical because the person we hope to bring back integrity is the same person who originally was involved in the attempted cover up.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  7. Kevin Rice says:

    DOCUMENTS RELEASED: Minutes ago, the City of A.G. disclosed the travel expense records for Steve Adams and Teresa McClish that I requested on Aug. 19. I have posted all of the disclosure at this page:

    http://www.integrityslo.org/arroyo-grande/20140703-sex-scandal

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

    • agag1 says:

      Surprised the Trib isn’t giving the City a bit of a break on their subscription since City officials provide them with a steady stream of material to cover.
      Canceled my 30+ year subscription this week, mad at myself that it took me so long.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 4

    • brettmx says:

      The scandal isn’t the alleged tryst the damn scandal is the how much is being spent on travel. $22 for room service pancakes. You’re kidding me right. I certainly wouldn’t have the huevos (pun intended) to submit that reimbursement. And why in the world are taxpayers paying or alcoholic beverages. What’s even worse if you did a records request for every other government agency you’d see the same expenses.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

    • Pelican1 says:

      I wonder if they will submit a travel expense claim for the trip to the restaurant and the time spent at city hall.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

  8. JB Bronson says:

    Why get to the truth? Because integrity matters.

    If there is one reason why America is faltering, it is because “integrity” is something we are sold during campaigns to get elected, then elected officials take liberties that you and I would get fired for, then want us to ignore their behavior.

    None of us is perfect, but character does matter. If you want me to vote again, it has to matter. Otherwise, why bother?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

    • phoenix.rising says:

      Integrity does matter to me. Character and honor are needed. It may be partially our fault since we do not demand these traits. We allow the Tribune to print lies and distortions to protect their political bent. I have not purchased a Tribune paper for the past 10 years, what about you?

      What is always going on is POWER! Being drunk with POWER. The feeling and belief that you have enough dirt on someone else or connections that you can do whatever you want because lying has become an art form that the board of supervisors, Mr Bruce Gibson has mastered. 6 years of an affair while having influence on the salary of said affair partner!!!!

      So the real question is who are the players that covered this up?

      Was it to protect their running for office? Could someone be ready to file to run for Mayor or City Council if this had gotten out before now? The filing period was active and I know 2 people who were considering running.

      Citizens be active and care.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

    • However says:

      If we can’t count on integrity from those in our local government, privately and publicly, what can we count on?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Lewy says:

    They were “disheveled”? How about the guy? Was he visibly “aroused”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    • Jorge Estrada says:

      Not visibly because he was hunched over with his arms crossed doing the Charleston as he walked. Do we have a cartoonist in the audience, I could use a good laugh.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

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