Morro Bay council hiring string of lawyers

October 30, 2013
Jamie Irons

Jamie Irons

The Morro Bay City Council is hiring a string of lawyers to temporarily fill the void of outgoing City Attorney Rob Schultz. [Tribune]

The council is currently in the process of firing Schultz, although it has not provided a reason to do so. Mayor Jamie Irons, who has spearheaded the firing of Schultz, is now facing a recall effort.

During a special meeting Tuesday morning, the council directed Susan Slayton, the city’s administrative services director, to find a law firm to handle Morro Bay’s legal work until an interim city attorney is hired.

The council plans to spend between $20,000 and $25,000 of city reserves on hiring the short-term attorney. It has yet to determine how much to spend after that on the interim city attorney.

Earlier this month, the council hired San Luis Obispo attorney Steven Simas to guide it through the employment dispute with Schultz, as well as City Manager Andrea Lueker. The council allocated up to $12,500 for Simas’s services.

Tuesday’s meeting marked the fifth special council meeting of the month. Another special meeting is scheduled for Thursday, in which the council may officially cut ties with Schultz.

Schultz’s contract calls for nine months of severance pay.

The council previously considered firing Lueker, but it has not scheduled any more meetings to discuss her contract.


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If you ever need a reminder of why you don’t want to sign the recall petition, just read an “article” or two from the neurotic, paranoid There, you will find the great prose of such impartial minds as Garry Johnson, Dan Reddell, Bill Peirce, George & Nancy, and Morro Bay’s First Couple of Mean:Bill & Kathy Welles. By the language you can pretty much tell who writes what posts on this site as well. I don’t care how disappointed you are as an Irons supporter, you can’t seriously want to go back to the alternative.

Another attack on people that make meaningful contributions to the city. Go back to writing about the dishwashers and cooks that are shackled in their 1 bedroom apartments and prevented by the “good old boys” in developing new skills so that they can find careers that would allow them to improve their lives.

That’s really intolerant but not surprising.

And I don’t see what’s personal about my comment. I was criticizing the writing of people who are putting their names on the “articles” they write and trying to remind citizens why they shouldn’t sign the recall.

You describe people as “neurotic, paranoid” yet call others intolerant and don’t understand what is personal about that?

I said the fogcutter was neurotic and paranoid, which it is. And I didn’t call YOU intolerant, I called your statement intolerant.

Do people not write the articles on Fogcutter? Have you not attacked those same folks repeatedly? I did not make a statment about you either,but, about the comments that you post. The people that you described earlier (hospitality industry workers) are not slaves. They have the ability to improve their skills and pursue more lucrative employement. If they choose to remain in those positions that is a choice that they make freely. No disrespect meant to anyone with that comment. These positions are given to low skilled or inexperienced people. They become integrated in the workforce, improve their skills, continue their education, gain experience and become more valuable when they do so. At that time their skill sets provide higher income as their improved skills are in higher demand. If they decide that they want to continue in the lower paying occupations, that is their choice as well. In all honesty, my daughter works at an Embarcadero restaurant and one out of Morro Bay as well. I encourage her to change careers and she has the skills to do so, but, she is unwilling to start somewhere at an hourly wage about the same as what she is making and give up the tips. She has chosen to sacrafice long term security and higher future income to make tips. Bad choice but it is hers to make.

This world you imagine, where anyone can make a move anytime they want, is fantasy.

I’m sorry maybe when you were young that is how it was but it is no longer that way. I am a recently graduated college student who worked in the restaurant industry for several years.

Today if you get a 3.0 in high school (which requires doing homework on time and studying an hour tops each test its too easy) and your family makes under 40-50k. You will get all of your tuition, housing, and food paid for at any state university. All you have to do is be a student.

That world is here.

Again, you put words in my mouth. Nothing happens in our desired time, but, it is not an excuse to give up. You wont believe this but I will tell you anyway. After 29 years as an executive in an industry that I started at near minimum wage, I lost my job because my employer went out of business. That was in April, 2007. By late in 2009 I lost my home as I remained in my industry but in a role that provided only commission income and due to industry condition was not hiring 50 year old executives. The market also was bad so the services that my company provided were not in demand either. By late 2009 I lost my home and relocated to the Central Coast as that is where I want to live. I continued in my industry, still failing due to market conditions. Don’t get me wron, I made some money but could not pay my bills, have health insurance, maintain my cars etc. In April, 2011 I accepted employment with an hourly wage of $9.87 per hour an hour in a new industry and was happy to do so as the company paid for my benefits and I am Diabetic, so, that is huge. In order to survive and provide for my family, I had to work 2nd jobs and do odd jobs. This year on in the position that I consider to be my new career (The 9.87 hourly position) I will make about $60,000. That job is in major account sales and it takes sometime to establish new accounts. In 2014 I will make $100,000 or more. I have an AA, not a 4 year degree. I have come a long way from the $20,000 I made on that job in 2012. I have given up my 2nd job. It can be done if you decide to do it

Now I have told you my story, here is some insight. You may have to step back in wages getting started in a new career so you must select something with a ton of long term growth available. You most likely will have to work a 2nd job for a couple of year. If you are in the hotel industry, try a major hotel. Talk to your boss about your goals. Get into a department that will expand your skills in customer service and sales. Apply at Banks and Credit Unions. Teller positons are entry level but provide an entry to the industry that has many other opportunities. Companies like Edward Jones have great training programs as does Enterprise Car Rental. If you lack computer skills take classes in Microsoft Word. Continue in the hospitality business and go to a technical school (Laurus College) and get educated in something related to technology. Show up for work early every day. Find a mentor and ask for help advancing. Don’t get tattoos. If you have them cover them while at work. It makes most folks over 40 uncomfortable and limits your progress. Don’t dye your hair green or wear piercings. Your right to express your individuality does not take priority over an employer’s right to hire people that they feel will make their customers more comfortable. There is a lot that you can do to prevail if you choose to take action rather than hate those that are successful.

As bad as the decision to ax Rob may be, where is the outrage about the cost of the Water Treatment Plant now that we have to build at another location as the appeal was dropped by Mayor Irons? I am fully behind the recall but wonder if the messaging should be different. Rather than making the recall efforts focus on the action against Rob, why not call more attention to the excessive cost of the Water Treatment Plant and the error made with that decision?

” I am fully behind the recall but wonder if the messaging should be different.”

Yes. What about?

“Put the sewer plant on the beach! And in the floodplain! Support the recall!”


“Screw the Coastal Commission; who cares what they say! Support the recall!”


In case you have forgotten, the treatment plant is already located at the beach with less adequate engineering for disasters than is available today. Guess what, never a problem presented itself. In addition, where did I or anyone else say “Screw the Cosatal Commission.” Their word is not infalable and they are subject to appeal. If it has the potential to save $60 million plus in expenses, why not exhaust that avenue? Perhaps you should think a little more before putting words in my mouth.

Great point but that is one of the basis of the recall on the petition. Sign the recall!

That response was to probiz. From the Grounds for Recall: Mayor Irons has “disregarded his campaign promise by withdrawing the wastewater treatment plant from the Coastal Commission review, negating 8 years of work, and proposing a new project that will burden ratepayers with over $40 million in additional costs”. Sign the Recall.

I understand that is part of the basis, just trying to insure that the messaging reflects it more. People that think that the firing of Rob is not a big deal may better understand that the cost of the mishandling of the treatment plant being $60 million plus may begin to support the effort. I think a lot of people dont know that.

Good point. Also, from reading the latest report it seems that moving the plant to the Righetti property would cost an estimated $120 million more than the existing location.

Correction to my last post: The CMC location would add $120 million in additional costs to the project for a total of $160 million. The Righetti project would cost and additional $60 million to the costs for a total of $100 million.

And let’s do the math for those that don’t think that way. $120 million paid by 10,000 Morro Bay Residents relates to added cost per resident of $12,000 per resident. If you factor in the real numbers (assuming that at leas 1/3 of the residents are children and that most households have more than 1 person) you can probably look at this cost being spread over about 3000 taxpayers in Morro Bay. That is $40,000 additional for each tax payer. Where does that money come from? (on top of the $11,000 per tax payer that would have been the cost at the current site)

And to make matters even worse, that estimate is in today’s dollars and doesn’t take into account inflation, increased material costs and higher interest rates. These three council members have really put any people on fixed incomes, such as our seniors, in a no win situation and they really don’t care. Support the recall.

And let us not forget…that many of the activists that are supporting Irons are RENTERS….(hello Betty Winholtz)…and will not have to bear the burden of the inflated cost that is being promoted. And I also wish to raise the concern that many properties are now owned by absentee owners as secondary homes…and they will be effected financially….BUT will not be able to VOTE on what affects them…just wished to toss these thoughts out there to be considered as well…..

Another closed session tomorrow at 10:00 am

and so it appears the legal action begins,

at least we will all find out the truth in court.

Well, here we go Morro Bay – one good employee probably gone, the other one likely in the near future. Next we see the report on the City’s website that shows the new waste water treatment plant is going to cost – at a minimum about 3 times what the original project was going to cost. Lets keep in mind that this mayor and his cohorts were the ones that pulled the plug on the project. What they profess is that the coastal commission killed the project, but remember the project never got to hearing, this threesome didn’t let that happen. The city is fractured and on its way to completely broken.


If Rob Schultz were guilty of some infraction or innapropriate activity, why not terminate him “with cause”? By doing that the city could save on severance pay and all these meetings etc. As I understand it, they could save all that severance pay and also show justification for the termination by simply showing cause (such as this secret meeting) to change his severance back to his original contract terms.

Could it be that all of these leaks are meant to be a smokescreen to cover a POLITICAL and ARBITRARY move by this incompetent Mayor?

I can see three possibilities for the reason they are trying to get rid of Schultz (and possibly Lueker.) The first is that they are reasonably sure that he has done some things that should result in firing but are too hard (or too expensive) to prove if they had to justify firing him legally.

The second would be that they feel that he is too tied to the old power group they replaced and that he will not reliably do what they want him to do if it conflicts with the interests of his old friends. They might believe that he might even sabotage them with bad advice or in other ways so that his old friends could benefit politically later. ( This could be done in ways that are not technically unethical or illegal.) This would be a good reason for terminating him “without prejudice.”

The third possibility is that they want someone who will toe the line and tell them how to do what they want to do without worrying about honesty and ethics too much. Schultz may not be willing to do that for them even if he would be willing to work honestly and ethically when possible.

I don’t see an ethical problem with what they are trying to do unless it involves the third possibility. If Jan Marx and John Ashbaugh were ousted from the SLO City Council by allies of Dan Carpenter, I would expect that his group would do the same to the SLO City Administrator and Attorney. And they would be justified in doing so.

This type of comment has no place in Morro Bay politics, or on this discussion board. It contains too much clarity and logic, and does not include any sign of self-serving bias that I can see. Seriously, whoever wrote this should cover this story on an ongoing basis. Both sides are really digging their heels in and the very deep political riff in Morro Bay is getting deeper by the day. There are businesses in town right now that present their CUSTOMERS with the petition to sign. On the other side, there are people who would like to see a recall but won’t sign the petition because of who is behind it. There are a lot of ways to twist this issue and we need someone who can stand back and explain it, even if it is an opinion. Maybe some opinions ARE better than others.

I see that the special interest minority is once again stirring up a tempest in a teapot. The Council majority is doing what is prudent to protect the City.

The bottom line is that the City will save a great deal more by getting rid of its current City Attorney than the interim legal counsel will cost. That’s because the guy that is about to get the boot has caused a great deal of very expensive trouble, and would no doubt continue to do so if he were not leaving.

Got examples, or are you stirring the pot?

Pot stirring, which she’s done since day one of this fiasco. Like they say, “Go with your strengths”.

Protect the city? what from? certainly not bankruptcy…

Boy, that Kool-Aid must be good. In reality, the city will be saving nothing. Rather, under the current leadership, it will spiral into the depths of fiscal irresponsibility in the name of “prudence.”

maybe being dismissed is not so bad?

look at it this way, he will have full pockets, 9 month severance, great retirement.

seems to me dismissal is not so bad after all.

and if he is such a great city attorney? he will not have a hard time getting another job.

the longer his dismissal draws out does not look good for Rob Schultz.

Because his children are in high school, and he may have to relocate them.

He was in a place he really cared about as evidenced by the events and city functions he attended and worked for, and then he got uprooted randomly and for no cause.

Meanwhile, at least as the dismissal draws on it shows he actually can do the job. And isn’t, “incompetent,” as mbactivist believes.

What expensive trouble has he brought to Morro Bay mbactivist? I would love to hear.

In life there are many curves in the road, that is life.

Change can be good for everyone involved.

Change is a certain, but, poor judgement that creates the change is unacceptable.

“Change can be good for everyone involved”. Yeah right, especially when the change is forced, groundless, and YOU’RE not the one being forced to change.

It sure would be nice to see people get this excited about the salaries of the cooks, dishwashers, and housekeepers of Morro Bay who are crammed into a one-bedroom shacks with ten other people, or living in their vehicles. They get laid off or get their hours cut regularly, and no one has any meetings to discuss the possibility of it, or has “negotiations”. (There’s no public comment, either).

Because of this wastewater treatment decision there will soon be even more low income people crammed into houses and paying more rent. There will probably be more people living in cars too. When local property owners see what the sewer rates are going to be in the future they will be forced to raise rents. When prices go up everyone pays more and has less to spend. Jamie Irons and his two cult followers could care less.

Because the previous mayors & followers cared so much? These people didn’t just start making sub-living wages yesterday.While Rob Schultz is using his 6-figure severance package to take his time searching for another 6-figure job, these people will be scouring craigslists, daily, for second jobs so they can make rent while squeezing a couple grams of nutrition out of a Dollar Tree diet. Why don’t some of the Waterfront Elite that employ these people, and are so concerned about Schultz’s future, pay their people a living wage? Why don’t they put their efforts into building affordable housing in Morro Bay? It’s a little off the topic, I know, but it’s hard to feel sorry for people making so much when some have so little. And since when did lawyers start getting so much love, anyway?

You have got to be kidding me. Because Mr. Schultz spent 7 years getting an education and law degree and another 15 becoming a highly reputable attorney. Those employees you speak of are EXPENDABLE and anyone can do there job. The city will soon find out Mr. Schultz is not expendable.

And why all the love to the attorney? Because he could be elsewhere making 100,000 more a year but chose to be in Morro Bay cause he cared about the city.

He will get an offer within the year for a city attorney job where he will make probably 20% + what he makes at Morro Bay. Meanwhile we will get a wishy washy attorney that will tell Mr. Irons what he wants to here. Cause that’s all your going to get for 150 k or less and exactly what Mr. Irons wants anyhow.

You just helped me make my point – thank you. Things are much easier for a Mr. Schultz than some of the other people I mentioned and we shouldn’t feel too sorry for him. Do you really think that people stay in Morro Bay because they care about the city, or just like it here? Probably more the latter. And have you stopped to consider that Mr.Schultz may have obtained his law degree from a LIBERAL university? Also, I hope the next EXPENDABLE cook you get leaves a nice treat in your calamari.

You have got to be kidding me. Because Mr. Schultz spent 7 years getting an education and law degree and another 15 becoming a highly reputable attorney. Those employees you speak of are EXPENDABLE and anyone can do there job. The city will soon find out Mr. Schultz is not expendable.

And why all the love to the attorney? Because he could be elsewhere making 100,000 more a year but chose to be in Morro Bay cause he cared about the city.

He will get an offer within the year for a city attorney job where he will make probably 20% + what he makes at Morro Bay. Meanwhile we will get an attorney that will tell Mr. Irons what he wants to here. Cause that’s all your going to get for 150 k or less and exactly what Mr. Irons wants anyhow.

I worked in a restaurant for about 4 years before graduating college recently. And I will tell you I was/they are 100% expendable. Anyone can be trained to do that job quickly. Busser 2 hours, server 3 days, chef 2 weeks. That’s why they don’t get paid well and that’s why no one does it. And it’s why I left the career and any of them can if they so choose also.

People feel sorry because they lost a quality person who served Morro Bay extremely well. What’s not to get?

Perhaps he doesnt want to move from Morro Bay. Limited number of City Attorney positions available on the Central Coast.

Nobody wants to move from Morro Bay – even the oppressed. You could have an open sewer running down the middle of Morro Bay Blvd. and people would stay. You could have Jack the Ripper as mayor and people would stay. You could have the saddest aquarium on earth in Morro Bay and — oh, nevermind.

“That’s because the guy that is about to get the boot has caused a great deal of very expensive trouble, and would no doubt continue to do so if he were not leaving.” says the woman that sues everyone that has the audacity to exercise their property rights.