Morro Bay city manager returns to hot seat
November 11, 2013
The Morro Bay City Council will again consider firing City Manager Andrea Lueker during a special closed meeting Tuesday.
At the request of Mayor Jamie Irons, the council initially considered firing Lueker in September, but opted to take no action. The council is currently in the process of firing and negotiating a severance package for City Attorney Rob Schultz, who is on administrative leave.
Irons has not stated publicly why he has called for the termination of the city’s top two employees and is now facing a recall effort. Still, Councilman Noah Smukler and Councilwoman Christine Johnson have supported Irons in his push to fire both executives.
A majority vote of the five-member council is required to fire either the city manager or attorney.
When the council called the September meeting to discuss firing Lueker and Schultz, a capacity crowd greeted the city manager with a standing ovation. Her supporters included numerous past and present city employees.
Tuesday’s meeting will mark the first time since September in which the council will discuss firing Lueker.
The council held six special meetings during October, mostly to discuss firing Schultz.
During the dispute over the executives’ contracts, the council hired an outside attorney and plans on hiring another, before then bringing on an interim city attorney.
According to the contracts of Schultz and Lueker, the city owes each more than $100,000 in severance pay if the council fires them without cause.
The previous council, however, raised the severance pay for Schultz and Lueker in closed session without finalizing it open session, as required by the Brown Act.
Schultz faults Irons and the current council majority, though, for not correcting the mistake when informed about it.
Schultz’s contract initially called for nine months of severance pay, but the previous council improperly lowered it to six months before improperly raising it back to nine months. Lueker’s contract currently calls for nine months of severance pay, as well.
The council will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Morro Bay Veterans’ Hall. Discussion of Schultz’s contract is also on the agenda.