Morro Bay Council looking to terminate city manager and attorney

September 12, 2013

The Morro Bay City Council has scheduled a special meeting for 1 p.m. Thursday to discuss terminating the city’s manager and attorney.

morro bay plantMorro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons and council members Christine Johnson and Noah Smukler called the special meeting to discuss in closed session the termination of City Manager Andrea Leuker and attorney Robert Schultz.

The meeting will be held at City Hall instead of the Veterans Memorial Building where council meetings are typically held.

Both Leuker and Schultz requested that any complaints or charges against them be heard in open session rather than behind closed doors as is their legal right under the Ralph M. Brown Act.

Leuker, a city employee for 26 years, became the city manager in 2008. Her current annual salary is $152,224 a year. For the past 16 years, Schultz has served as the city’s attorney. His current salary is $151,588 a year.

 


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racket

Clearly Irons is acting without the benefit of the City’s legal counsel.


This seems like an impossibly easy thing to foul up. The potential for Personnel missteps and Brown Act violations is huge, and being conducted (presumably) without counsel’s oversight.


slophocles

How do you know? I haven’t heard what the REASONS Irons, Smukler and Johnson have for wanting to terminate these people. Anybody out there with some factual information?


racket

I don’t KNOW anything, and am only making a racket.


But it is pretty clear that the City’s counsel is not participating in counseling the Council.


If he were, what choice would he have but to tie a slipknot in his own noose.


Human Reason

I have been told it will cost the City $500,000 in severance payments and another $500,000 in the first year to pay for outside Counsel and an Interim City Manager. There goes the money to fix our streets.


mbactivist1

On the other hand, maybe Schultz and Lueker have done or have been doing something that could or has cost the City more.


I wonder if their contracts contain provisions that take away the severance pay if they are fired “for cause”. I do know that in private industry, people generally lose their retirement benefits if they are fired for wrongdoing whereas, if a termination is just a matter of reducing staff levels, they keep them.


Human Reason

On the other hand the Mayor has admitted that have done nothing wrong. Therefore, they cannot terminate “for cause”.


Niles Q

Someone will have to come in as interim and those PT jobs usually go for $8,000-$9,000 a month. Then you add in the expense of looking for a replacement, recruitment etc… and that’s probably another $30,000.

Hiring an attorney will cost who knows what? This town’s legal needs are different than most because of the state tidelands leases on the Embarcadero. His experience and knowledge of these issues will take years for someone else to learn.

As for severance pay, that should be publiic record, so we will find out. I do know that they’ve been negotiating severance since April, with the mayor trying to cut it as much as possible.

They are being fired because they have tried really hard to educate the big three on how government works and the big three have become frustrateed with not being able to push through whatever agenda they had coming in.

Whatever that agenda is, it isn’t coing from their brains. They have been manipulated like puppets since spring 2012, when they were hand picked by some pretty savvy political operatioves in town (Walter Heath, Jack McCurdy, Betty Winholtz, etc…).

Irons got elected because Yates and Borchard didn’t work hard enough or care enough going into the June 2012 primary.

This all started back in March and has been simmering for months. I want to know what happened over the last weekend to trigger their actions now.

The meeting Tuesday was clearly awkward and strained, with the mayor and council people being visibly irked with being told that the staff didn’t want a citizen committee overseeing the formation of the budget.

They voted to form one anyway, which seems especially stupid considering that the budget has been balanced every year for more than a decade.

Clearly they are listening to people behind the scenes and have been discusssing this and probably a lot of other issues in private.

I just hope they have a plan for what comes after the firing, unlike they did when they asked the Coastal Commission to deny our sewer project.


Niles Q

One correction, the budget had to be cut in 2005, but was still balanced in the end. They ended up balancing the budget on the back of the code enforcement officer, who lost his job.

The PD lost a few vacant positions and I believe one part-time mechanic was also let go.

These positions have not been brought back.

Please ignore my typos, this damn laptop screen is too small


mbactivist1

The fact is that special interest group has been desperately trying to regain control – and they will lose what little control they still had if Schultz and Lueker go.


It is that desperation that prompts the group’s members to make up fiction like the utter craziness in Niles’ post.


Kevin Rice

I’m starting to believe the ‘special interest group’ are the citizens of Morro Bay. Niles is right on point.


Sombic

For once and for all please identify the “special interest groups” you continuously refer to. You are either mentally ill or not that bright.


racket

“special interest group” is code for anyone that doesn’t agree with you.


taxpayer

She could be both.


MaryMalone

QUOTING NILES Q: “I just hope they have a plan for what comes after the firing, unlike they did when they asked the Coastal Commission to deny our sewer project.”


———


Well, if (as has been stated here) there have been no complaints about the city attorney and city manager, then performance isn’t an issue.


The next thing on my list of possibilities is that the mayor/members of city council have relatives or lovers who want the jobs.


tomsquawk

political subdivisions are a good racket


slophocles

Can we get a little more detail? Does anybody know WHY? What’s going on here?


Kevin Rice

If the mayor wanted you to know details he wouldn’t have scheduled the meeting in a tiny conference room on an odd day and time with hardly any public notice.


mbactivist1

Uh, guys, the mayor doesn’t do the conference room scheduling. That’s a staff job.


Human Reason

Wrong again. The City Clerk yesterday asked the Mayor to change the location to the Vets Hall yesterday and the Mayor refused.


MaryMalone

The mayor may make the decision about where the conference will be held, but I doubt the mayor actually does the scheduling. If the mayor does actually do the scheduling then it looks to me like an issue of a micromanaging mayor.


Why isn’t the city manager handling these administrative details?


It appears there may be a power struggle between the mayor and city manager, and that the city attorney is supporting the city manager’s side.


MaryMalone

P.S. If the mayor is making it a point to have insufficient public seating for such an important city issue, then it looks like the mayor doesn’t want public scrutiny of the procedures.


Human Reason

The Mayor has stated that there are no complaints or charges. WHY? Because the Mayor wants to be City Manager? You know he resigned from the Power Plant before they fired him..


Pelican1

Morro Bay is quickly becoming Moron Bay.


Niles Q

Wow, a public execution! This promises to be the best show in town, hope they can get it on TV for posterity, and for anyone who wants to see how you pubicly humiliate someone who doesn’t deserve it and see three political careers start on their way over a cliff.

A smell a recall in the making if they go through with this.

The meeting will HAVE to be moved to the Vet’s Hall because there is no way 200 people can fit in the tiny conference room at City Hall, unless the big three don’t want anyone there. And the seniors are eating lunch in the community center meeting room so that’s out.

I hope AGP Video can manage to get the thing filmed, this is history in the making in MB politics.

Bring some popcorn!


MaryMalone

QUOTING NILES Q: “Wow, a public execution!


I girl can only dream…


r0y

Maybe they want to save the city over $300K per year? Such generous salaries for such little work, I’ll never understand how the public sector views money, income and expenses.


Human Reason

Private Attorneys and CEOs make more than $150,000 year. Based upon my knowledge of these two they are not doing it for the money but because they love Morro Bay.


r0y

Ah, but private attorneys and CEO’s are generally held to accountability and responsible for their own retirement… not to mention, often work long hours and be productive. Not always the case, I’m sure.


If people want to live in this beautiful area and it’s not “for the money” – how about we implement a public sector salary cap of $75,000?


Niles Q

The city manager oversees a workforce of more than 100 employees, in 8 departments. The $160,000 salary isn’t too much, and in fact is the second lowest among all the SLO County incorporated cities (Grover is lower than this).

The city attorney has done a good job keeping the city OUT of lawsuits, which has saved a hellova lot of money. Back in early 1990s we had Judy Scousin (sp?) as a contract attorney and she cost us way more than Schultz does. She actiually pushed lawsuits and such to run up billable hours. Then we had Hunt & Associates for a few years and Schultz came to the city out of that law firm, so too did the Pismo Beach City Atttorney.

He’s emminently qualified to do this job, lots and lots of training and is also certified to argue before the State Supreme Court, which has never been needed, still it’s a nice plaque on the wall.

He told me that he took this job because he wanted stability and wanted to build up a retirement nest egg.


mbactivist1

Have you noticed that the City always hires high-priced outside law firms when something important comes up? For example, we have had one firm on the “payroll” for years to deal with the legal mess the City staff created in the Chorro Valley when they violated water rights laws.


Niles Q

Water rights are the most complicated portion of law there is. And hiring an expert is not unusual. I don’t know how much money has been spent on this, but there is plenty of blame to go around, like the farmer who filed a complaint with the state water board, the homeowner that blames everyone else for her miserable life and the State Water Board and Coastal Commission who have taken decades to act on these issues.

I don’t know how much has been spent on these issues, but it hasn’t been in courtrooms, at least not yet.

Considering that the Chorro Valley wells represent more than 900 acre feet of water a year, whatever moeny the city spends securing these rights is money well spent.


Myself

The Mayor and Smukler have sunk things in the city already, they must be going after these two because they don’t agree with what these two tree huggers are up to.


racket

Paging Hodin: I am seeing a cartoon brewing where the round-headed boy fires his creator. Make it happen. ;-)


Oh wait. That’s Charles Schultz, not Rob Schultz.


tomsquawk

what’s with all these German names?


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