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.

 


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MBwaiter

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?


mbactivist1

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.


mbactivist1

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.


rye

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


givemeabreak

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


slophocles

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


MBwaiter

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.


MBwaiter

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.


givemeabreak2

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”.


slophocles

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?


SunshineDaydream

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.


Human Reason

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.


mbactivist1

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.


racket

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.


Myself

I really think we can do with out Mr Eclkes also.


rye

who is he……?


slophocles

He’s sort of a cross between Johnny Carson and Joe Isuzu.


mbactivist1

Here is an example the kind of behavior that have caused some people to want the Morro Bay City Attorney replaced.


In a July 5, 2012 staff report, Schultz recommended approval of a waterfront lease agreement that residents said violated a City law known as “Measure D”. That law reserves the Harbor north of Beach Street for uses associated with commercial and recreational fishing.


“Party boats” are not allowed unless they were berthed in the area before Measure D was passed in 1981. The law says, in part, “For purposes of illustration only, and not by way of limitation, no approval shall be granted for any new passenger for hire boats or supporting facilities.” Two of the boats that the potential lease holder intended to dock at the lease site were party boats that arrived in the Morro Bay harbor after the year 2000, long after Measure D had been passed.


When confronted by residents, Schultz tried to divert attention away from the issue by focusing on numbers of boats, rather than on specific boats. In an August 3, 2012 memorandum, he said, “It is also important to point out that prior to the implementation of Measure “D”, there were over 12 “passenger for hire or party boat vessels” in the Measure “D” area. Today there are only four. Therefore, since the implementation of Measure “D”, the City has not authorized nor allowed any further “passenger for hire or party boat vessels” than existed prior to measure “D”


In footnotes to the memorandum, Schultz listed 17 party boats that were present north of Beach Street prior to Measure D, and four that are present in the area today. The two questioned by residents were not on the list.


When challenged again, Schultz attempted to focus attention on berthing facilities instead of the specific boats, and on the possibility that boat names were changed: In an August 12, 2012 email he said, “It is the City’s position it has not issued permits for any new passenger for hire boats or supporting facilities. The C_____ and the P________ are located on facilities that existed before Measure “D” and the Lessee had valid vested permits for these uses. Because the name of vessels changed does not make them in violation of Measure “D”.”


After residents provided comprehensive, documented proof that, regardless of their names, the two party boats in question were not in the Harbor prior to Measure D passage, the City Attorney said in an August 31, 2012 email, “ I have been with the City for 15 years so I am well aware that the C_____ and the P________ II were NOT in the Harbor prior to 2005”


I trust that savvy CCN readers see a bit of a conflict between this last statement by Schultz and the earlier ones. This is the kind of doubletalk that Morro Bay residents get from City staff on a regular basis.


It is important to note here that, given that residents and the Council were told by the City Attorney that Measure D was not being violated, it is reasonable to assume that the lease holder and the boat owners were told the same thing, and that they are innocent victims in this situation.


Human Reason

Mr Schultz did not present or recommend approval of any lease cite in July 2012. Mr. Schultz did not present or recommend the Two Boats that you refer to that or the Harbor. Measure “D” no where uses the words “party boats”. Typical of you to only provide your side of the story to represent your special interest groups.


mbactivist1

I refer you to Mr. Schultz’ staff report of July 5, 2012, addressed to the City Council. Under the heading “Recommendation”, it says, “Staff recommends that the City Council approve assignment of the Lease Agreement for Lease Sites 124/128/124!-128W & 113W from Sea One Solutions, LLC to MMBS, LLC and approve Amendment #3 to the lease to allow for the phasing of water improvements.”


The document is public record. A copy can be obtained by anyone through submission of a public records request. You can also view it online. It is attached to the agenda for the July 11, 2012 Council meeting. http://www.morro-bay.ca.us/Archive.aspx?ADID=1593 Scroll a little more than 1/4 of the way through the documents and you will see it.


As noted in my first post on this subject, In an August 3, 2012 memorandum, he said, “It is also important to point out that prior to the implementation of Measure “D”, there were over 12 “passenger for hire or PARTY BOAT vessels” in the Measure “D” area. Today there are only four. Therefore, since the implementation of Measure “D”, the City has not authorized nor allowed any further “passenger for hire or party boat vessels” than existed prior to measure “D”


Not Mr. Schultz’ use of the term “party boat”. I capitalized it in the quote so you can see it more easily. Unless you consider him “no one” then it is clear that the term is, indeed, used. The memorandum referred to here is also public record and a copy can be obtained through a public records request. It is also online, because that’s where I got it, but I do not have the link handy at the moment.


mbactivist1

P. S., all of Schultz’s emails that I refer to are public record and can be requested with a public records request. Quite a few residents have copies of them at this point.


MBwaiter

Yes they are public record. Please make sure you ask for all of the emails between you and Schultz so that you can see how delusional you are.


dingdong

I would like to see you try and start a business on a waterfront lease site that’s regulated and zoned Measure D. Why don’t you stop criticizing and put your money where your mouth is. If a party boat will help pay the lease site rent and entertain tourist, then let them have a party boat. Measure D can be read and interpreted in many ways. Your rant has nothing to do with protecting a location for fishing vessels and the industry as a whole in Morro Bay which is why we have Measure D, but a poor attempt to discredit Schultz. I can tell by your rambling you’re not a commercial or recreational fisherman. The commercial fishermen and women backed Schultz at public comment on Thursday. Get over it.


If you such an activist for Morro Bay, why aren’t you out volunteering your time to the Morro Bay community like Schultz is today? An activist for Morro Bay would be more upset at Irons for wasting Staff’s time on Wednesday and Thursday. Taxpayer money down the drain.


mbactivist1

Once again, an attempt to divert attention from the issue – which is that Schultz is paid to provide sound, honest legal advice to the Council, and is expected to follow the law himself. He is not paid to ignore the law when he doesn’t agree with it.


Whether or not you like Measure D, it is what it is and Schultz knows what it means, as is clear from the convoluted, failed attempt he made to justify his actions.


Human Reason

The agenda you reference is for an assignment of a lease that was there before Measure D. Get a clue and get your facts straight. How long have you been in MB. Have you ever gone down to the fishing community and talked to them about Measure D and Shultz. They supported him at the the hearing.


mbactivist1

Wrong. The lease SITES were there before Measure D. The specific lease agreement was new, as was clear from the fact that Schultz asked the Council to approve it.


Beyond that, the two boats were NOT in the harbor before Measure D was enacted, and the law clearly states, “For purposes of illustration only, and not by way of limitation, no approval shall be granted for any new passenger for hire boats or supporting facilities.”


Human Reason

Wrong again the staff report you cite is for an assignment of a lease not a new lease. You don’t even understand the difference do you?


SLOthinker

Wow, this is your evidence for malfeasance worthy of being fired?


I don’t know the particulars for this case, but just taking what you have presented here, I would say that the city attorney made a pretty reasonable decision.


If I have a permit for a party boat, I would expect to be able to change boats as I see fit as long as it fits in the slip and doesn’t cause some other sort of problem.


mbactivist1

The point is that this is an example of a case where City law was openly violated and a failed attempt was made to justify that violation. What you might think is “reasonable” means nothing. The law is the law and City staff is required to follow it. They are not allowed to ignore it when it suits their purposes.


Human Reason

There was no violation of the law. The Coastal Commission approved the same leases and came to the same legal conclusion as the City Attorney. If you don’t agree with the City and the Coastal Commission then why don’t you and Betty sue. The City would have to pay legal fees back if you won. The reason why you don’t sue is because your arguments have no merit.


mbactivist1

Yes, there was a violation of the law, and no, the CCC did not review the City Attorney’s decision regarding the two specific party boats.


Human Reason

The City Attorney did not approve the two boats you refer to. . Please if you want to know the truth go down to the Public Services and ask to see the files, the CUP and CDP, Business licenses for the lease sites. See if you can find the City Attorney’s name on the approval. Instead you find City planning Commission, City Council and Coastal Commission approval.


Pelican1

Let me see if I get this right…

No fishing

No Power Plant

No entrainment

No fireworks

No hunting

Limited property development

No Hawaiian shirts

No sewer

and now….no more boats?

Geez…a truly desirable place to wanna visit


slophocles

Morro Bay is hell!


rye

MB is schwell.


taxpayer

You left out………


No Smoking

No kite flying on the State Beach

No plastic bags

No dogs on the State Beach

No good paying jobs!


Pelican1

Right you are.


Myself

This is your reason to let Schultz go, thats a pretty weak reason if you ask me.


givemeabreak

Thanks for the info Bill and Bernie


dingdong

I heard Monica Irons, Jamie’s wife recently hired Christine Johnson’s husband to work for SLO City. Does anyone have the details on that or know anything about it?


taxpayer

And her husband’s job is to convince businesses to relocate in San Luis Obispo. That sounds like a real conflict of interest with Morro Bay’s mission to get businesses to relocate here.


racket

¡Oy! Too many Irons in this fire.


SLOChildrenAtPlay

Wouldn’t it be great if SLO City would hold a similar meeting. Not only would you have overwhelming support to oust the City Manager and City Attorney, I’m fairly sure the majority of the crowd would tell Mayor Marx to pack her sh*t and get out too.


SamLouis

If SLO did, you might well end up with 3-4 lynched politicos…


Human Reason

I think MB should change City Attorney and City manager for SLO City Attorney and City manager. SLO would finally have competent Management and legal Advise and City of MB would get what they deserve! I have never ever seen support like that for top City officials.


Human Reason

If the post above is true that Irons was having dinner with the SLO City manager than I called it before it ever happen! WOW !


rye

Really? Thats funny.


slophocles

Maybe the worst thing that Irons has done is to give the Morro Bay Nutjob Society (the John Barta/Garry Anderson faction) another reason to spout their idiocies. He deserves to be recalled just for that.


slophocles

(correction: Garry Johnson)


slophocles

Thank you everyone for liking my correction. I must admit it is a fine correction.


slophocles

I think Irons did this to change his image. He comes across as boring and predictable before but now we’re never going to know what to expect from him. It’s the new “wild and crazy” Jamie Irons.


MikeB

jirons@morro-bay.ca.us, gleage@morro-bay.ca.us, cjohnson@morro-bay.ca.us, nsmukler@morro-bay.ca.us, njohnson@morro-bay.ca.us


September 13, 2013


To the Honorable Members of the Morro Bay City Council:


Please allow me to offer some comments concerning the controversy surrounding the proposed personnel action against City Manager Andrea Lueker and City Attorney Robert Schultz.


Having served on the Atascadero City Council during years 2007 and 2008, I came to meet Ms. Lueker and Mr. Schultz in my capacity as a public official.


I found both of them to be professional, courteous and of good conscience.


Mr. Schultz had served as Atascadero’s interm city attorney in 2007, just prior to my appointment as mayor.


In the short time that Mr. Schultz was our interim city attorney, I was thoroughly impressed with his job performance, his legal advice and his ethics, so much so, that I encouraged him to apply for the permanent position.


I was disappointed when Mr. Shultz declined, but it was obvious he enjoyed and was passionate in serving the community of Morro Bay.


From my perspective your community is fortunate to have such principled public servants.


Respectfully,


Mike Brennler


mbactivist1

Mr. Brennler, clearly, your personal experiences with the Morro Bay City Attorney are positive. However, please consider the possibility that, were you to conduct one of your very thorough and competent investigations into what really goes on in Morro Bay, you might change your viewpoint. Other people have been investigating and reporting problems for some time.


For examples please see this article http://www.slocoastjournal.com/docs/archives/2010/May/pages/news2.html


The article is three years old, but I reference it here because it gives a lot of examples that are typical of how Morro Bay city staff conducts the city’s business. In general, nothing has really changed since the article was written.


Human Reason

That is so funny but so unethical. Should you not divulge to Mr. Brennler that you wrote the article that you have cited and asked him to review. Unbelievable, no wonder you support irons. You have no morals.


Pelican1

“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.”

RECALL THE MAYOR….No reasons needed.