Morro Bay manager and attorney still employed after fiery meeting

September 13, 2013

IMG_0354Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons led a special city council meeting Thursday to discuss the possibility of firing City Manager Andrea Lueker and City Attorney Robert Schultz. But, the capacity crowd in attendance showed more interest in recalling the mayor than in releasing the city’s highest-ranking employees.

Lueker and Schultz remained employed upon the adjournment of the meeting Thursday, which began in a small conference room in City Hall and moved to the Veterans’ Memorial Building, where a standing room only crowd welcomed the city manager and attorney with a standing ovation. The city manager and attorney remain “at will” employees, though, and the council can, at any point, call a meeting and choose to fire them.

After the council heard more than 50 public comments supporting Lueker and Schultz and only 10 speakers opposing them Thursday afternoon, it met in closed session for more than an hour to discuss the proposed termination of their contracts. Upon returning from closed session, the council reported that it took no action, and neither the council members, nor Lueker or Schultz, would say what, if any, agreements were reached.

Prior to the closed session, Schultz and Lueker requested that the council reveal any charges or complaints levied against them. Irons said there were none.

“Five months ago, I received a satisfactory review from you and each council member and had no idea until 10:45 yesterday that this was going to be called,” Schultz said to Irons.

Schultz, as well as Councilwoman Nancy Johnson, asked Irons to explain his reasoning for considering termination of the contracts. Irons did not say why he called into question the performance of the city manager and attorney.

Schultz also said Irons violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, government code and municipal code in the manner in which he conducted meeting. Irons said he researched and followed the law, but did not seek outside counsel.

Numerous public speakers accused Irons of having a hidden agenda, some suggesting he had pre-picked replacements for Schultz and Lueker.

“I don’t have any response to a hidden agenda,” Irons said. “I called this by myself.”

Irons, along with council members Christine Johnson and Noah Smukler, called for the special meeting on Wednesday, just one day prior to the event.

Nancy Johnson said she was out of town at the time of the announcement and found out about the meeting from a friend. Johnson, who said Thursday that Irons failed to demonstrate transparency, asked the mayor why he scheduled the meeting on such short notice.

“It is not sudden at all,” Irons said. “I have given considerable thought to this. Nor should it be unexpected.”

When the council members arrived in the conference room Thursday, observers were sitting on the floor, lining up in the hallways of city hall and standing outside the building. The council then agreed to move the meeting to the veterans’ hall, where meetings typically occur.

Nancy Johnson said that Councilman George Leage and she requested Wednesday to move the meeting to the veterans’ hall, but they did not receive a response to their request.

Many current and former city employees joined the capacity crowd at the veterans’ hall, most of whom displayed support for Lueker and Schultz. Public speakers repeatedly praised the work of the city manager and attorney, and urged the council not to fire them.

“These people are not incompetent,” said former mayor Bill Yates. “It’s a dumb idea.”

Other speakers described the idea of firing Lueker and Schultz as “insane” and “horse shit.” One said it “breaks my heart.”

Several others said they signed a recall petition, which was circulating in the audience.

Supporters of Irons, Christine Johnson and Smuckler said they trusted the council majority to make the right decision, and that it had the support of the majority of the city’s voters.

“This is here and this is a big deal because the people who are in question decided to make it a big deal,” said former councilwoman Betty Winholtz. “The majority of people who have voted for you, outside the couple that spoke this afternoon, I would suggest they’re still on you’re side.”

Lueker, 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.

If the council chooses to fire Lueker and Schultz without cause, it will owe them severance pay.




  1. givemeabreak says:…………..intresting…………hang out and meet at a party and you are hired!!!!! Maybe if Irons gets his way here in Morro Bay perhaps he might have met the new replacements at a local party here in town.

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  2. taxpayer says:

    I would like to see Cal Coast News do an in depth investigation of this whole situation and other matters concerning Jamie Irons, Christine Johnson and Noah Smukler. Also, how Jamie and his wife’s relationship with the Katy Liptig and San Luis Obispo’s administration was involved in his decision to move forward with something that the citizens of Morro Bay definitely are against. What’s the motive? Was the Brown Act violated? Have there been conversations between the three which haven’t been revealed to the public? Who are the parties that these three are the mouthpieces for? Did some of SLO’s administration give Jamie advice? If so, who? What are these three up to? Is there a financial motive behind this move? Someone needs to dig a little deeper. I hope their are more stories to follow.

    (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
    • nurse1 says:

      I for one am very disheartened over this whole thing. I am also ashamed that I voted to for Mr. Irons , Mr. Smuckler and Christine Johnson. I am fairly new in town and obviously did not do my homework prior to the election. Lesson learned.

      (13) 13 Total Votes - 13 up - 0 down
      • givemeabreak says:

        No need to be ashamed nurse1. MANY in town were fooled.

        (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
  3. Rambunctious says:

    Just watched the replay of the meeting. Wow…point made. Can someone shed some light on the family that purchased the Sun Bulletin building and why they are in favor of the attempted dismissal of Schultz and Lueker.

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
  4. slophocles says:

    THIS JUST IN: Minutes ago I spotted Mayor Jamie Irons purchasing name-brand lemonade from Spencer’s Market. When I asked him how he could afford to buy brand-name lemonade and not a generic brand, his evasive, arrogant answer was: “I just like the taste of Minute-Maid, alright?” I followed him outside but he fled on his bike with another cyclist who looked a lot like the Guatama Buddha himself. Where does this guy get off?

    (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
    • Kalalau says:

      That’s funny! A little levity is refreshing……something Jamie Irons has not delivered lately!

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • givemeabreak says:

      LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We all know Irons does not shop in North Morro Bay. Why would he be slumming it?

      (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
      • givemeabreak2 says:

        I believe that is sarcasm you are LOL’ing, givemeabreak.

        (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • rye says:

      stalking Mayor Irons
      Get a life!

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  5. SLOthinker says:

    I don’t live in MB so I don’t have a dog in this fight, but here are some observations:

    1) The mayor, with a majority of the council, is completely within their rights to replace the city manager and attorney

    2) Sooner or later, (hopefully sooner), the mayor is going to have to explain to the citizenry why he chose this course. It better be about a lot more than a couple of party boats. This is true even if they don’t go on to replace them.

    3) When the mayor lays out his case, he going to need to show the public that the benefits, out weight the costs. (Severance, recruitment, disruptions etc…)

    4) Calling people hooligans or thugs, or complaining about the mayors eating habits, have no place in this discussion and only highlight the posters bias.

    (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
    • Kalalau says:

      I agree with you …
      #1 Majority of the council….yes within their right….
      But wise ….at the same time?, suddenly Without Cause?, especially since they got great evaluations recently?
      #2 Something makes me think the mayor will not explain to the citizenry why he chose this course and if so….. HONESTLY.
      #3″When the mayor lays out his case, he (is) going to need to show the public that the benefits, out weigh the costs. (Severance, recruitment, disruptions etc…) ” This is my opinion would be very hard to do. For their years of service and knowledge, their salaries are more than reasonable. “Severance, recruitment, disruptions etc…” would be extremely costly.
      #4 Agree

      Remember SLOthinker….these have both been very dedicated and hard working employees for many years in Morro Bay…under a number of Mayors….have a world of first hand knowledge of the workings of our town…..and no matter who has been elected have been very professional and want our town to prosper.

      (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
    • mbactivist1 says:

      Regarding #4, There’s no bias in calling people hooligans and thugs when they earn the title with their behavior.

      For example, the hooligans among the Schultz and Lueker supporters verbally attacked and abused ladies in the audience who did nothing to provoke those attacks. The hooligans simply recognized the ladies as supporters of the Council majority and that was enough to spark their uncivilized behavior. There were also hooligans who addressed the Council with vicious and completely uncalled-for personal attacks.

      Were you a Morro Bay resident, and were you more familiar with the past infractions of these characters, you might have even worse names for them. “Hooligan” gives them more credit than they deserve,.

      (-9) 19 Total Votes - 5 up - 14 down
      • givemeabreak says:

        All so FUNNY….you are a “hooligan” if you oppose Irons but an activist if you support him. And Ms. mbactivist….just how long have you been a resident of MB? CLEARLY not long enough to know what is REALLY going on. Wish we could have Rodger Anderson back as mayor. A little honesty, integrity, and transparency would be a welcome change.

        (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
        • mbactivist1 says:

          About 10 years – way long enough to know what really goes on here.

          (-6) 10 Total Votes - 2 up - 8 down
      • givemeabreak says:

        Abused ladies in the audience? GROW UP. IF there was such abuse going on why didn’t they take it to the chief of police that was standing there the whole time? Quit playing the victim.

        (3) 11 Total Votes - 7 up - 4 down
        • mbactivist1 says:

          I am told that some have since taken it to the chief. They were too intimidated at the time to do anything.

          (-6) 10 Total Votes - 2 up - 8 down
          • Rambunctious says:


            (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
          • racket says:

            There is some precedent for this. I am recalling Betty Winholtz filed a police report when a council meeting didn’t go her way.

            (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
          • rye says:

            Interesting the word around town, is there has already been a police report filed on
            the bully.

            (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  6. MBwaiter says:

    I never stated I was a waiter at the Galley. Just you cannot ever be called an MB Activist. Please just call or send an email to the Mayor and Father Ed and ask them where they had dinner and with who. As long as you are asking the Mayor questions why don’t you verify that he has more than 12 residential rental units and owns half a block in the downtown area. Dinners at the best restaurant in MB iare only available to the wealthy.

    (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
    • givemeabreak says:

      LOL!!!!!! This is some funny stuff. Confessions with Father Ed at The Galley. Much easier to confess your sins over a few cocktails and a nice dinner.

      (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
    • Kalalau says:

      Public Information regarding SLO salaries….some interesting to this thread I think:

      Who makes what in San Luis Obispo

      Click on an employee’s name to see a breakdown of their compensation.
      Name Job title Base salary Total benefits Total compensation

      Katie Lichtig City Manager $221,520 $89,732 $311,252

      Deborah Linden Police Chief $160,394 $73,821 $234,215
      Christine Dietrick City Attorney $155,012 $69,840 $224,852
      Carrie Mattingly Utilities $154,544 $62,869 $217,413
      Jay Walter Public Works Director $151,450 $65,958 $217,408
      John Mandeville Community Development Director $154,544 $61,213 $215,757
      Shelly Stanwyck Recreation Director $144,768 $65,555 $210,323

      Monica Irons Human Resources $139,516 $56,651 $196,167

      Michael Codron Assistant City Manager $92,664 $43,642 $136,306

      (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
    • mbactivist1 says:

      Jealosy is very unbecomong.

      (-10) 10 Total Votes - 0 up - 10 down
  7. mbactivist1 says:

    Something that stands out for me in the comments made here, and in the events of September 12. That is the stark contrast between the conduct of the Council majority and their supporters, and the group supporting Schultz and Lueker.

    The Council majority and their supporters stick to standard, legal process and procedures, and support their statements with verifiable, documented facts. The opposition resorts to unsupportable accusations, diversionary tactics and, in the case of the September 12 meeting, an attempt to control the process through “mob rule”.

    The Council majority, faced with an unruly mob of hooligans, showed those people the same respect and consideration that they show to the more civilized elements of society. They allowed the mob to heap insults on them and still kept their cool. They did not retaliate, but stuck to the agenda and did not allow the hatred and hostility of the mob to throw them off track.

    Meanwhile, in the audience, things were going on that the Council majority could not hear, or they would surely have taken action to stop them. The hooligans menaced Council majority supporters who wanted to speak and intimidated them into silence.

    The majority of Morro Bay residents are civilized, law-abiding people. Clearly, there is a reason why they supported and continue to support Jamie, Noah, and Christine. Mob action and made-up stories about imaginary transgressions only serve to strengthen the support and show the voting majority that they made the right decision.

    (0) 16 Total Votes - 8 up - 8 down
    • givemeabreak2 says:

      Very good point. The worst thing that our usually cool-headed, non-reactive council majority has done by bungling this is to give ammunition to this vocal minority again. This is just the moment these rabid, bloodthirsty hooligans (good word for them) wait for and now we have to listen to them until they wear down and step on their own toes again. We have to remember that the people that ranted, raved, threatened, slammed podiums, and made fools of themselves at the meeting are members of the same business-as-usual minority that got ousted last election. Morro Bay was tired of them. One brave speaker at that meeting kind of hit it on the head when she reminded the room that a lot of them are people that are still mad about having their “little playground taken away.” These people are loud and vehement and try to make you think they speak for the whole when in actuality they speak for their pocketbooks. I think Irons should just come forward, apologize, and admit he bungled it and promise to do better. Anything is better than going back to the old way. Then again, the more Garry Johnson and John Barta speak, the better the other side looks – ALWAYS.

      (-1) 13 Total Votes - 6 up - 7 down
      • mbactivist1 says:

        Good points, but I have to disagree on just one of them. I don’t think the Council actually bungled anything. I think that this action was the first step in a process that has yet to fully unfold. We may never know the whole story, because personnel matters must be kept confidential.

        I think that our hooligan minority will rant for awhile, but will fail to stop the positive changes already made by the Council majority, and the additional ones to come. Let them have their little drama with their little recall petition. It gives them something to do to keep them from being even more of a nuisance.

        (-2) 10 Total Votes - 4 up - 6 down
        • givemeabreak says:

          I would not count on that……………had a recall petition circulating from some that came to my door today. And many neighbors that voted for at least Irons that are REALLY sorry they did. Glad it is giving them something to do. As far as the WHOLE story……well……I am sure it will come out and Irons will look like the pompous lil man that he is.

          (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
      • givemeabreak says:

        Thank you Gary Johnson and John Barta…………We welcome your comments and perspective. Thanks givemeabreak2 for pointing out how knowledgeable they are. : )

        (-5) 5 Total Votes - 0 up - 5 down
        • givemeabreak2 says:

          Do you read the posts you reply to, givemeabreak?

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • Myself says:

      I don’t believe that the council has too many supporters other than Windholtz, the irate couple on the water front and a couple other tree huggers and trust funders.
      The council was just vaguely legal with their blunder and it backfired on them, they have no facts and no reason for firing these people,I’m not too fond of Shultz but canning him because of your idea of the party boat slips is pretty weak.
      The taxpayers and voters stood up for people that have done their job for the city ,now if there was reason to can these people don’t you think that these people wouldn’t have shown up,small petty crap doesn’t cut it, everyone has their bad decision days, we might be in a couple petty lawsuits or a street or two isn’t getting paved but I don’t hear about outlandish wages or odd ways of doing business like San Luis does.
      If the councils AGENDA is to hire Lichtig and Irons wife then the council majority needs to be out on the street Monday morning, but I wouldn’t think that Irons is that full of him self to say what he did in a public place where he could have been overheard by anyone within earshot,but arrogance does take over.
      I’m sure the majority of the residents are law abiding, but not all of them supported this majority of the council,these people were voted in as the lessor of two evils, just because they were voted in doesn’t mean that they are supported.
      I don’t know what made up transgressions you speak of but when the City Manager and Lawyer explain to the Mayor that he doesn’t run the staff and public works on his own, and then the Mayor tries to fire them over it sounds kind of petty on the Mayors part, and lets not forget the private meetings between the Mayor, Johnson and Smukler , there is a violation for the brown act, and the meetings and calls to other organizations about the Aquarium, this with out council approval.
      My understanding is there were a couple more attorneys present and there may be some Brown Act violations brought up to the council majority, I guess we’ll see what this week brings as the Bay Flushes.

      (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
    • dingdong says:

      You are right on one thing, the majority of Morro Bay residents are civilized, law-abiding people. You left out hardworking.

      But, your majority was only 25% of the voters. Look at the turn out at public comment. Where was your majority, your minority probably didn’t have time to prepare since their king only gave them 24 hour notice.

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
  8. taxpayer says:

    I heard the same story. This is the same Katie Lictig who lives in Malibu. She drives to San Luis Obispo 3 days a week to manage the city and is paid much more than the current City Manager. So he wants his wife to be the HR Director? Somebody give me that recall petition. I want to help collect signatures. Jamie Irons is a corrupt individual and if this plan is allowed to happen it will cost Morro Bay plenty in employee moral and large sums of taxpayer money. This recall needs to happen immediately in order to save Morro Bay from a self serving Mayor. If Smukler and Christine Johnson go along with this plan, they need to be recalled too.

    (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
  9. MBwaiter says:

    So last night, Friday the 13th Mayor Irons had dinner at the Galley with Father Ed. Mayor Irons was obtaining spiritual advice and confessing the sins he committed this week ! Mayor Irons picked up the tab and is a lousy tipper. So tonight, Saturday the 14th, Mayor Irons is back again at the Galley for dinner. Someday, I hope I can become Mayor and eat at the most expensive restaurant in MB every night. Tonight Mayor Irons is with wife Monica, the HR Director for the City of SLO City and Katie Lichtig, the City Manager for the City of SLO. Mayor Irons was discussing with Katie how he was going to fire Lueker and Shultz and then Katie can be City Manager and since Shultz is also the HR director for MB, Katie can hire Monica. Mayor irons was so arrogant it was disgusting. Mayor irons picked up the tab and again was a lousy tipper! The last time I saw Mayor Peters eating out it was at Mi Casa. The last time I saw Mayor Yates eating out it was at Chupla Market. If you question the accuracy of this post, then please just contact your Mayor, Father Ed, Monica or Katie and ask then where they had dinner and with whom. Their emails can and phone numbers can be found on the web. If they deny it, then post and I will provide proof to you. And to you Mayor Irons, where is dinner tomorrow night?

    (7) 17 Total Votes - 12 up - 5 down
    • mbactivist1 says:

      I will give you one thing, you folks have a lot of talent as fiction writers. Give you a picture of some people having dinner together and you concoct an amazing fantasy complete with a convoluted plot and dastardly villains.

      Your desperation is showing bigtime. Oh, and by the way, you’re a waiter? If anyone believes that, I have a swell bridge in Brooklyn that I’d love to sell you. I’ll give you a great deal.

      (-7) 17 Total Votes - 5 up - 12 down
    • mbactivist1 says:

      Would the owner/manager of the an excellent restaurant like The Galley really retain on staff a “waiter” who spent his/her time eavesdropping on guests instead of working, and then telling the world about their conversations? Of course not. No such thing would be tolerated. It would be disrespectful to guests and VERY bad for business.

      Nobody would want to eat there. People would worry that they had no privacy and could not converse freely. They would get lousy service because the wait staff was too busy lurking and eavesdropping, and nobody would be available to serve them.

      Clearly, mbwaiter’s entire post is fiction.

      (-5) 15 Total Votes - 5 up - 10 down
      • rye says:

        The nice young man that owns the galley is good friends with Mayor Irons.

        (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
        • givemeabreak says:

          Making ones living by preying on the elderly is a shameful thing. Many are on to you. And you know who you are.

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
        • slophocles says:

          We’re ALL friends in Morro Bay – can’t you tell?

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
      • MBwaiter says:

        never stated I was a waiter at the Galley. Just like you cannot ever be called an MB Activist. Please just call or send an email to the Mayor and Father Ed and ask them where they had dinner and with who. As long as you are asking the Mayor questions why don’t you verify that he has more than 12 residential rental units and owns half a block in the downtown area. Dinners at the best restaurant in MB are only available to the wealthy.

        (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
        • givemeabreak2 says:

          It’s a nice try, MBwaiter, but good fiction has a “believability” factor. When fiction is too “perfect” the agenda of the author is revealed. You have to throw a little doubt in there for the reader to draw conclusions with. You can’t put it all out there for them. Also, I don’t think the mayor’s assets are any secret and if anything should make him look better with the “pro-business” crowd of Morro Bay. As for your claim about the financial status of the diners at the Galley, you are just wrong. While it is one of the more expensive restaurants in town, if not the most expensive, it is entirely affordable and I know people of lower and middle class that have dined and continue to dine there. Work on your fiction. You can do better.

          (-2) 10 Total Votes - 4 up - 6 down
          • MBwaiter says:

            I stand by the story and what happen. Like I said just contact the Mayor and ask them where they had dinner and with whom.

            (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
            • givemeabreak2 says:

              That’s what you’d like, isn’t it? And that’s what I mean – a good fiction writer never tells the reader what to think or do, thereby giving his/her fiction a degree of ‘believability”.

              (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
            • slophocles says:

              Well, you really don’t stand behind it if you’re posting on an anonymous discussion board. If you were to reveal who you actually were then that would be “standing behind” it. It is actually believable until you get to what was said at the dinner. You would have to have been sitting at the table with them, wouldn’t you?

              (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
            • SunshineDaydream says:

              Your “proof” is to have us contact the mayor? Thats the best that you have?
              You throw around some big allegations. I expected some actual proof, but it looks like you have none.

              (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • Human Reason says:

      Well I saw Andrea and Rob working at the Avocado Festival and cleaning up after. So while Andrea and Rob are volunteering at an event to help the City, the Mayor is eating dinner at the Galley. WOW. Am I wrong or shouldn’t it be the other way around? Now that think about, I can’t ever recall the Mayor volunteering to help out at an event.

      (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
      • givemeabreak2 says:

        It might not have been a good weekend for that. Do you know for a fact that he never volunteers at city events/functions? I’m not being facetious, just wondering.

        (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
      • mbactivist1 says:

        I suspect that Jamie spends most of his waking hours working for the City – for which he receives the princely sum of $750 dollars per month – which comes out to less than $25 per day. So, essentially, he is volunteering for the City most of the time, not just at the occasional festival..

        As for the obsession some CCN posters suddenly seem to have with where people eat dinner, on their salaries, Schultz and Lueker could easily afford to eat at any nice restaurant they choose. If they would prefer to eat at a cheaper place, and spend their money on other things. that is their personal choice, just as it is the Mayor’s choice to eat at the Galley.

        (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
        • racket says:

          I suspect that Jamie spends most of his waking hours working for his special interests. In that light, the $750/mo becomes irrelevant as the carrot for his actions.

          (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
    • givemeabreak2 says:

      Former Mayor Yates eats at the Chapala (not “Chupla” – are you sure you’re even from Morro Bay?) Market because he lives at the Pacific Cottage Motel, right across the street from it. Why, I don’t know and don’t care, but I know he has a very nice house and that Jamie and Monica Irons live in a small, older one-bedroom. How much did Irons tip, by the way? Just curious.

      (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down

Comments are closed.