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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Pelican1

How long will it take for this “string” of lawyers to start spending their time crafting a defense of the Mayor’s recall at the taxpayers expense?

All legal expenditures should be carefully audited and reported to the citizens of Morro Bay.


MaryMalone

It seems Mr. Irons believes the City of Morro Bay has money to burn.


What a farce.


I love visiting Morro Bay, and I feel very sorry for the people who live there. Iron’s asinine power moves are going to burden the city with extra debt that it cannot afford to expend, and it will be the people of Morro Bay who pay for it.


Rambunctious

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


How many Lawyers does it take to fill the shoes of Mr. Schultz?


MaryMalone

Apparently it takes quite a few attorneys to temporarily fill the shoes of City Attorney Rob Schultz.


It seems clear Irons wants nothing but puppet legal staff who will do whatever he wants, without question.


I wonder what Irons has planned for the City of Morro Bay that needs a raft of yes-men/women attorneys to help him cover up?


racket

Since Irons has no political history whatsoever, my guess is that he is the front man for whatever (if anything) needs to happen in the absence of experienced legal counsel.


Find who pulls Irons’ strings, and you’ll find the source of this farce.


Niles Q

The city of Morro Bay is almost paranoid about being sued, so literally everything the city does, every project that is reviewed, every lease negotiation, every claim, complaint and lawsuit, etc… goes through his office to be checked against the pertinent laws and be investigated because he is also the risk manager for the city, so he also deals with all the insurance items too.


It’s not unusual for Rob to be juggling 5-7 legal isssues at a given time, sometimes a lot more. And some of these things he’s overseen, like the power plant outfall lease and the prosecution of Shell for spilling MTBe into our groundwaqter basin, are so complex and specialized that he goes out for legal advice, always at the direction of the city council, decisions that are made in closed session.


With a law firm, those 5-7 issues would be likely handled by 2-3 attorneys (at $250/hr each), with the assistance of paralegals (at $125/hr), so simple math says that three attorneys would cost $750/hr, plus the paralegals, and ALL support things like office supplies, copies, etc would be charged out too. So there is NO WAY IN HELL that a law firm is going to cost less than one guy on the payroll whose salary is defined, budgeted for and limited.


He doesn’t even get overtime to attend all the city advisory board meetings, or to hold special workshops like the one on the waterfront leases. Comp time vs. OT? Which do you think a contract attorney would choose?


Shoot, this attorney, Simas, is charging $250 an hour and there is NO LIMIT in the contract that the Mayor signed. The Council did say to amend it and put in the limit of $12,500, but the attorney could refuse, and irony of ironies, he would charge us his time in negotiating this change! Getting paid $250/hr to change your own contract? What a racket!


He will likely put in 6 hours or more today, so just for today, assuming he doesn’t bring an assistant with him, he would get paid $1,500+ expenses and associates. Schultz makes good money but even he isn’t pulling down that kind of cash.


It will be interesting to see when Simas submits a bill in November how fast he’s burned through that $12,500. Will that bill be approved by the entire council or will the Mayor assume that authority too? Will it even be made public?


Schultz makes a good salary, $150,000 a year plus benes and retirement, has a legal secretary, a nice office, and security, at least up until recently. He took a huge pay cut to work for the city. He told me himself that he did this for stability and to work on a retirement.


He is also the city attorney for San Simeon CSD and does interim work for other agencies, the one that comes to mind is Atascadero several years ago when they needed an attorney for a few months. He will be unemployed for as long as he wishes to be. He turned down a job offer in Reno that was a whole lot more money, because he was told by this council that his job was safe.


His assistant, Dana is also the assistant city clerk and she has done absolutely nothing to be placed in this incredibly uncomfortable position. What of her future? Will an interim-interim attorney from an outside firm need her?


I personally have no problem with Schultz being let go. That is a power given the city council in our muni code. The way this has been gone about, however, leaves me with a sick feeling in my gut. Top people have been fired many times in this town, but never once has it been done in this publicly humiliating fashion. It feels vindictive and cruel. Mayor Irons has no scrupples and no common sense. He is playing to the cameras, drunk with power and either too stubborn or stupid to realize it.


Rob Schultz will probably sever his ties with the city this morning. We are losing a loyal and highly competent and knowledgable attorney. The business of the city is about to grind to a hault, no matter who they bring in to replace him in the interim-interim.


And somehow, I can’t shake the feeling that this is what Irons, C-Johnson and Smukler truly have in mind. It’s certainly been the M-O for decades of the people who are backing them — no growth, no tourism, no re-development, no expansion of the city limits, population growth ordinances, etc… have all been pushed by these folks at one time or another.


Hell 10 years ago, they tried to divide the city into five voting districts (Measure F) and now they say they are trying to bring the town together. That is the furthest from their agenda as one can get.


mb20

The most on point reply that has been made on this page.

100% correct.


racket

Mentions “racket” in the fifth paragraph — should be higher up. Otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly.


Rambunctious

I keep thinking the other shoe is going to drop and we will finally learn why this is so important to Mr. Irons. So far I’ve seen nothing to that effect. I do know that when an attorney gives you a quote of the cost of his or her services it is never an accurate estimate. These legal fees and the subsequent severance package will be a financial burden to Morro Bay. A far greater burden in my estimation than keeping Schultz as the city attorney. Heck…. he hasn’t even gotten to Lueker yet. YIKES!…Does anyone know how the recall petition is progressing?


racket

Does the disincorporation of a City always begin like this?


taxpayer

And if anyone needs more proof of just how much damage Jamie Irons and his two counterparts have done to the City just check out the Morro Bay website and look at the report that was just completed showing the comparative prices of placing the wastewater treatment plant in any of the new locations that this council paid for. Where as working with the Coastal Commission to place the plant near it’s old location was estimated to cost 34 million dollars, the costs for the new locations range from 90 million to 160 million. This council is on it’s way to bankrupting the City of Morro Bay. Sign the recall.


Myself

This fool isn’t going to save one Nickle for this city in this little game he is playing,by the time he is done it will have cost the city what Rob’s wages are for the year and still won’t be any further ahead,all because he has some little vendetta against these two employees.

When he gets kicked to the curb he might as well hang a for sale sign on his property he owns on Morro Blvd he won’t be able to do a thing with it.


abigchocoholic

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

——————

You need to pay another attorney $12,500 to interpret the above for you?


Only in government.


Pelican1

And this is precisely how you grow a bureaucracy while screaming transparency.

Soon, you can expect federal recognition as a Nerd Sanctuary.