Morro Bay to fire city attorney
October 22, 2013
The Morro Bay City Council decided to fire City Attorney Rob Schultz during a closed session meeting Monday.
After more than three hours of closed session discussions, the council directed its outside legal counsel, San Luis Obispo attorney Steven Simas, to negotiate a termination settlement with Schultz. The council did not provide a reason for choosing to terminate Schultz.
The council voted 3-2 in closed session to fire Schultz, with council members Noah Smukler and Christine Johnson joining Irons in supporting the termination. Council members Nancy Johnson and George Leage cast the dissenting votes.
Irons attempted to fire both Schultz and Lueker last month but faced heavy resistance. A petition to recall Irons since began currently circulating Morro Bay.
The council has not called a meeting to specifically discuss firing Lueker, but Irons has not indicated, either, that her job is safe. Firing both executives without cause is expected to cost the city more than $300,000 in legal fees and severance pay.
The contracts of both Schultz and Lueker call for nine months of severance pay, although some dispute their legitimacy.
The previous Morro Bay City Council improperly amended each of their contracts in November 2012 to include nine months of severance pay, as opposed to six months. The council did so in a closed session meeting, which violates the Ralph M. Brown Act.
Schultz, however, faults the current council for not correcting the mistake and approving the contract in open session, as he instructed them to do.
Schultz also says that his original contract contained nine months of severance pay. However, the previous council improperly lowered the severance pay to six months before raising it back to nine.
More than 100 people attended Monday’s 3 p.m. special meeting. Most public comment speakers opposed firing Schultz.