Morro Bay council to hire legal help as battle between mayor and executives escalates

September 25, 2013

IMG_0332Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons progressed Tuesday night in his bid to fire the city’s two top executives, while opponents of his advanced an effort to recall him.

The Morro Bay City council voted Tuesday to hire an outside attorney to provide guidance through a dispute over the employment of City Manger Andrea Lueker and City Attorney Rob Schultz. The vote came amid the council’s second contentious meeting of the month over Iron’s attempt to fire Lueker and Schultz.

With Councilwoman Nancy Johnson absent, the council voted 3-1 to approve spending no more than $12,500 to bring in an outside attorney at $250 an hour. Councilman George Leage cast the dissenting vote. Johnson and Leage remain the only two members of the council who have voiced opposition to firing Lueker and Schultz.

Approximately 200 people attended the meeting Tuesday, and public comment lasted for three hours prior to the council voting on Irons’s proposal to hire legal aid.

The majority of the speakers supported Lueker and Schultz, but the public did not side overwhelming in their favor as it did at the September 12 meeting, in which the council initially considered firing them.

Irons, who called for the September 12 special meeting with the support of Councilman Noah Smukler and Councilwoman Christine Johnson, has yet to provide reason for pursing the termination of Lueker and Schultz’s contracts.

A report surfaced Tuesday, though, that showed the previous city council violated the Brown Act by adding three months of severance pay to the contracts of Lueker and Schultz in closed session and without notifying the public. Firing the city’s two top executives without cause will now cost more than $300,000, including severance pay and outside legal fees.

Nonetheless, Irons could face a recall over his push to fire Lueker and Schultz. A notice of intent to recall Irons circulated the audience Tuesday, and former councilman Bill Pierce said during public comment that petitioners had served Irons with the notice.

If 25 percent of registered Morro Bay voters now sign a petition to recall Irons, it will trigger an election.

 


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kkeene88

And this just in, the Tribune acknowledges that a recall effort has begun….Irons was served 2 days ago……..hmmm selective reporting?


Public_Parent

How many signatures needed just to get it on the ballot?


And, how many votes did Yates and Borchard get, combined?


Redsoxman

There are 1,700 signatures needed to get the recall on the ballot. As far as the 2012 elections go, Yates and Borchard received a total of 41.56% of the vote, compared to 52.97 for Irons.I would like to point out that this does not necessarily mean that a recall would fail, as 1) Only 60% of the registered voters participated in that election, and the pro-Irons cartel was much more organized and aggressive in getting their followers out there; and 2) If you attended either of the last two meetings at the Vet’s Hall, you heard more that a few of the folks who voted for Irons now are experiencing “voter’s regret” and will most likely switch their allegiance due to the way Irons has conducted himself in the past two weeks.


slophocles

“Cartel”? I bet you also blame Bill Buckner for the Boston Marathon bombing. There are other channels besides FOX, you know – wicked-awesome channels like Lifetime and Comedy Central. Don’t limit yourself.


Redsoxman

Nice joke about the Marathon bombing, Slop. You are not only classless but highly insensitive. You’re a perfect Irons supporter.


givemeabreak

This will be EASY…………Many are waking up that voted for these fools. I have 19 counted right now….just neighbors and friends. Let the Festivities begin. Too bad our city has to suffer as a result of this lil man and his co horts IGNORANCE.


kkeene88

My neighbors, only 12 at todays count, are disgusted with Irons for this attack on Leuker and Schultz. Those who voted for him were certain that he would listen to the vast majority who supported the employees. They are ready for a HUGE change. Recall……bring it on.


taxpayer

I have also had several people ask me where to sign the recall today. Everyone should sign this recall petition. After what this City Council has already done there are many people who voted for these incompetent people who are very sorry. Not only that, they’re very angry.


slophocles

Your neighbors plus givemeabreak’s neighbors equals 31 neighbors, if my math is correct. That is a movement.


givemeabreak

Pretty good movement……. since it just took a few hours to get 31


slophocles

That’s what we call “anecdotal evidence”, gimmeabreak. You sound like Bill “If This Goes Through I’m Back” Yates who gets his data standing outside GAFCO on a Thursday morning talking to passersby. Have you stopped to think about demographics? One speaker at Tuesday’s meeting made a very good point. He pointed out that the Cloisters are full of little children running around – the offspring of young, intellectual, professional couples – families that are taking over Morro Bay – your worst nightmare! A-HA-HA-HA! A-HA-HA-HA! AH – ah you get the picture.


givemeabreak

LOL…..The Cloisters…..soon to start looking like its neighboring worn down beach tract just north of it. The land the “Cloisters” is on used to be called cow pee lake.


slophocles

“Served”? By Big Dog the Bounty Hunter?


givemeabreak2

Givemeabreak is pulling that issue of the Trib out of his fireplace right now. Hope he doesn’t burn his fingertips. He needs them for typing all his poignant comments.


HarryMalone

Too bad Mr. Irons is not the mayor of SLO or Paso.


Mr. Holly

How about Atascadero?


givemeabreak

Hey Mary……bet we could all pay you to take him away from us!………The best letter EVER written from a resident in Morro Bay today was titled “START PACKING MAYOR” This from an 88 year old woman that has been here forever and is WELL respected. FROM both sides of the fence. Thanks Gracie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!……Ms. Poletti……..THANK YOU!


http://www.tolosapress.com/managed_files/cms/BNWebIssue092613.pdf


Kalalau

Thank you Mrs. Poletti for your letter in the Bay News! You are a Morro Bay TREASURE……and your words deserve respect…..

We LOVE Morro Bay…. and this sad event must be righted!


Pelican1

Grace is a treasure! I met her a number of years ago and was very impressed by her level of devotion and involvement in Morro Bay.

As the winds of change have affected her community over the years, Grace has always been able to adjust her sails and weather the storm…and she’s done it her way.

Thank you Grace.

RECALL THE MAYOR


slophocles

“The winds of change”? Come on. Please.


Mr. Holly

After reading the article in the Trib yesterday regarding a violation of the Brown Act by the former city council could be the reason for the current actions by Mayor Irons. From the report in the Trib it appears that more lucrative benefits were given to Lueker and Schultz along with their high paying jobs in closed session. I for one am getting tired of government employees giving away all of these benefits to all of their employees. Could it be that Mayor Irons, council members Christianson and Smuckler are also tired of these actions and have the courage to address the issue?


slophocles

That’s one of the things the ran and got elected on, was cleaning up all the favoritism, nepotism, and cronyism (a word that gets misused repeatedly by certain posters on this comment board)


Human Reason

I would suggest you obtain Shultz’s 2002 contract. That contract has a 9 months serverance in it. The tribune article is completely false and made up that he received an increase in servance to 9 months. His 2002 contract already had 9 months severance. His contract is a public record. Shame on you Tribune for blantly false reporting.


givemeabreak

HEY!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep getting The Tribune so we have something to help start our fires nightly. Winter is coming! Always helps with a bit of paper with that nice Oak we have burning in our wood stove.


slophocles

We don’t really have winter in Morro Bay unless you want to count that delusional “winter envy” we get every year between November and February, where it rains a little and the days get shorter.


Rambunctious

What? The Trib fabricated a portion of there story? That’s just amazing! Normally the whole story is a fabrication…lol


Rambunctious

What? The Trib fabricated a portion of their story? That’s just amazing! Normally the whole story is a fabrication…lol


givemeabreak

Key word…..from the letter in the “Tribune”…..LOL (SLO County’s sorriest source of information!)….I will give it to The Tribune though,,,,,,their paper still works really good in our wood stove.


givemeabreak

Mr. Holly………hope you paid your $70.00 this year to read the “FIBUNE”


Mr. Holly

Cancelled it a long time ago. My contribution to help keep the dumps clean.


kkeene88

Curious when Leage suggested that there be a couple of council members on the “search committee” for the outside counsel and he was summarily denied. Oh of course before he was denied, there were some ridiculous speeches and playacting by the other two, but there were clearly pre-decided on this entire debacle. So sad for Morro Bay.


Kalalau

No matter what Irons stated about the law firms he was considering….I’d bet money that he had ALREADY made up his mind which firm to hire. His way or the highway so to speak…..


MBwaiter

Word on the Street is Irons has already hired a firm and it is not even 1 of the 3 he mentioned in open session. Are you having a hard time to find an unethical attorney Mayor?


givemeabreak2

What street? That section in front of the Galley? Anything that starts out with “Word on the street …” usually ends with b.s.


taxpayer

Funny, Irons’ brother-in-law is an attorney. Nepotism anyone?


slophocles

Should you really be using big words like that?


Word

Should you really be personally attacking people like that?


You call yourself slophocles and then you go all fact free and insulting?


slophocles

I’ll tone it down a little.


Morro Bay Voter

“Word on the Street”, that is code for “Rumor has it”, which is a phrase that the MB Waiter knows all too well. He should stick with pouring coffee and he should be ashamed of himself for making things up.


brook

Since this ‘little’ innsurection had been hiding in the background for some time, a man without a plan would have foolish. Jamie Irons has always meant to make the city a more honest, functunal city. Grace’s money won’t be buying

any more ‘seats’.


Kalalau

This comment is unkind and rude.

And Jamie’s actions are less than honest…..sadly.


slophocles

sometimes the truth is unkind and rude.


Kalalau

Friday night insomnia and nothing better to do?


slophocles

Yep. Goddamn seals won’t stop barking.


slophocles

Cash money?


givemeabreak

Yes Mr. Dictator………this whole thing smells….let’s see we have Mayor Irons, then we have his wife who is the HR Director for the city of SLO, who just so happened to hire Morro Bay’s newest council member Christine Johnsons husband. Which way do you think lil bo peep is going to vote?


brook

Not without direction from Nancy his Barta-appointed runner.


hijinks

What’s really curious is that the city manager and attorney are still sitting in their offices. These people serve at the pleasure of the duly elected city council, whose majority clearly doesn’t want to work with them, for whatever reason. The decent, graceful, gentlemanly, intelligent thing would be to just say they want to spend more time with their families and resign, then find work elsewhere. If they’d do that, maybe the council would even give them a “glowing recommendation,” the usual way one passes along unwanted employees. But if they try to sit tight and get fired, who do they think’s going to hire them with that on their resume? Their behavior really makes it look like the council has good cause to get rid of them, for they don’t appear to be too sharp.


SLOthinker

Wow, how callous can you get? I’m surprised you aren’t advocating for euthanasia.


You do realize that in the city managers case, she has worked for the city her whole career. She has worked from an entry level job all the way to the top. This is how you would reward dedication to the city?


I can only hope that the mayor and the two council persons don’t share point of view, otherwise Morro Bay is in for real trouble.


slophocles

We don’t know enough about it yet. Especially with the city manager. I’m still failing to see what she did wrong besides accept a generous pay hike and benefits package.


Public_Parent

You may not find out “what she did wrong besides…”. She is an at-will employee and can be let go without cause by the Council.


There is the fact that our streets our disintegrating before our eyes…


Old Salt

Chip sealing with gravel is CRAP…So is Cold Roll Asphalt…!

The City of Morro Bay should have been putting down hot mixed asphalt on all their roads even in North Morro Bay as X-Mayor Roger Anderson had promised to do years ago, but never accomplished, except for expensive chip sealing which doesn’t hold up very well.

Morro Bay has always been reluctant to spend money for hot mixed asphalt roads except in the downtown business districts. especially when they had the P.G.& E. discharge monies…!!!


taxpayer

Where does one go to sign the recall petition?


hijinks

1947? Morro Bay wasn’t a city then, and had no mayor.


taxpayer

So what? Anyone whose been here since 1947 has seen every City Council and Mayor since the city began as an incorporated city. Seems like a pretty good historical perspective to me.


givemeabreak
givemeabreak2

WHAT?!


taxpayer

There ain’t no fool like a young fool.


givemeabreak

You are right hijinks MB was not a “city” then …………people still lived here. Might want to check out the history of our fine county. People actually lived in places before they became a “city” ………Remember when Oklahoma was a territory before it became a state?


givemeabreak2

Was Morro Rock here in 1947?


slophocles

I get it, givemeabreak2. I get you. So much for these other imbec–sorry, but i get it is all I’m saying.


givemeabreak2

I get you too, sophocles. Hey, wanna “like” each others’ comments?


slophocles

Okay. I’ll go first.


MaryMalone

QUOTING GMAB2: “You really can’t make an objective evaluation until their terms are over.”


———


Using that logic, Richard Nixon would have finished his term in office, and City of Bell Mayor, Robert Rizzo, would still be in office.


Candidates are ELECTED to a term in office. The people are not SENTENCED to suffering poor leadership for the entire term of office.


slophocles

Nixon wiretapped and illegally shredded documents. Rizzo and that bunch were stealing the city blind. Are you really equating Irons’ handling of personnel issues with the actions of Nixon and Rizzo? That sounds like FOX-Bubble Logic.


givemeabreak

We would never imply that Irons has 1/10 of the brain Nixon or Rizzo had.


givemeabreak2

See now, that’s the FOX talking again.


slophocles

Do you know where one is? I like Ham radios.


givemeabreak2

No, but I know where some ham sandwiches are. Get it?


grayotter

How can the Mayor know what to do when his legal advisor isn’t smart enough to know the Brown act? Maybe it’s that he does know the Brown Act and can’t be trusted…


SLOBIRD

We have all seen employees dismissed, resign, moving on, fired but had to be rehired, etc. These are “government: employees! You are not privileged citizens to know the going on in the day to day business and inapt or wrong doing of a government employee. We can look at the City of SLO to see all the wrongdoings and no one is every fired (Bud Nance, Bob Nichols, Paramedic Mason, 2 police officers, Ron Faria). We can look at City of Paso Robles to see the Police Chief and her wrong doing and she “resigned” with a bonus of $250,000 and then they hire her assistant who surely must of known what was going on. You can look at the Paso employee who resigned yesterday and is “under investigation” for using a City credit card for personal purchases and was allowed to resign (13 year employee, vetted into pension plan) after the City went to his home with a UHaul and removed the purchased items. We can look at the County of SLO with the David Edge scandal with David Wilcox, etc. and they all left with “bonus'”… That is how the system works for government employees. Other than City of Bell when was the last time anyone heard of any direct firing of a State, County or City employee in this County. You may hear rumors but you never will know the truth! That is how government, government unions and their protections work.


hijinks

All of which, while interesting, is irrelevant to the issue at hand. The city’s top people work for the elected officials (who in this case don’t trust them) and serve at their pleasure, and are not protected by unions or other lower rank job protections. That’s why they negotiate these ridiculous golden parachute clauses no city can risk paying, and why it’s so rare to see a city council with the guts of MB’s trying to actually fire some of them. The problem isn’t unions, or civil service, because the top dogs don’t benefit from either. The problem’s that government is run more and more like a business, so the top people end up having the same sorts of excessive pay, benefits, golden parachutes, and perks as top corporate CEOs. Firing a few of them seems like a good thing.


Myself

Seeing as how the mayor didn’t come up thru the rank and file, he was elected from the outside, so to speak, he has no workings of how things are done,most likely doesn’t know much about how the council and staff are to operate,only what the other two cohorts tell him,remember he had a job prior to being elected mayor so how much would you know about operating a city when you have a full time job.


slophocles

Before this comment board devolves, as it is about to, in typical Morro Bay fashion, there is one piece of news that should make all sides happy, and it didn’t get mentioned by anyone at last night’s meeting – Last Friday MBHS’s football team traveled to San Luis and kicked the crap out of the Tigers. Morro Bay was undermanned, undersized, and a big underdog. They not only beat their arch-rivals, they dominated them. This weekend they play highly-favored Lompoc at home. Okay, back to our regularly-scheduled devolving.


Rambunctious

Nice…I’m going to that game. GO PIRATES! Now back to tearing each other up…lol


slophocles

How did that work out?


givemeabreak2

Lompoc throttled Morro Bay last night so now there is nothing at all uniting us – nothing to stop us from being the completely fractured city we are. Hopefully givemeabreak and his buddies will win the recall which will only infuriate the other side more and then we’ll have a real showdown. The destruction of Morro Bay is imminent.


Rambunctious

Well…where do we sign the recall? Its time to pull the plug on this kind of political chicanery. If there is cause for dismissal of Lueker and Schultz then put it out there and if their malfeasance and subsequent termination is worth $300-$500 thousand to the people of Morro Bay then proceed. If there is no cause for terminating these two employees and Irons still wants them gone then to start with he and his two stooges should come up with the $12.500. Just sayin…


slophocles

I think that “just proceed” acttitude is the reason we’re here – and one of the reasons we have so many new faces on the Council.


kayaknut

Which political chicanery? The current one or the one done just prior to the previous board departure?


Another reason for a quicker seating of newly elected officials or a law preventing the granting of any new salaries, benefits, or other financial issues until the new members take office. Departing member should be allowed to conduct current business and deal with emergencies but any financial issues must be delayed or be required to be reviewed by the new members


Rambunctious

The current one…lol


brook

If there had been any ethical core of the last Mayor and Council, they never would have pulled that infamous fast run over the newly elected one. Just a ‘clever’ behind the scenes piece of political dirty pool that never should have

gone unchallenged.


givemeabreak2

Funny how Yates is telling Irons he’s “acting like a king”. Bill Yates’ has been known as “King Bill” for as long as long as I’ve lived here. And this behind-doors interaction with city staff, just so everyone knows, has been a regular method of Yates in all his years as mayor. This latest Brown Act violation is probably nothing compared to all the “closed sessions” he’s conducted over the years – as in “just leave it up to me – the king – to take care of everything.”


slophocles

I’m trying to track down Bill Pierce. Maybe givemeabreak knows where he is.


givemeabreak2

Givemeabreak is building his winter fire with Tribunes. Leave him alone.