Morro Bay city manager returns to hot seat

November 11, 2013

IMG_0332The 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.



Wow. Morro Bay’s Queen of Mean was in rare form tonight. Set a real good example for all those young people sitting in the audience. She’s Jamie Iron’s best weapon.


We fire are city attorney and try and fire our city manager and we can no longer even start council meetings on time. Are we really asking for too much?


I would love for the mayor to answer one question. Why?


Yeah, me too: WHY isn’t there anywhere for working people to live in this town? (and don’t say what about los osos? – same thing)


MBhomeless. Sacrafice is needed at times. Roomates etc. I don’t know how long you have been homeless but you have some choices to make. There is help available for lot’s of things in Morro Bay. The homeless are fed by a local church twice monthly at the Park where the homeless congregate. That same church has a food bank (free food) every Saturday. Off shoot groups from that Church also provide meals on a regular basis. If you hae a computer and an internet connection there is something askew. Why isnt that $ being set aside to get into an apartment with a roommate? What other areas of your budget can you improve? I have been involved in the meals provided that I described above and early in the month folks don’t show up because they got their Social Security Diasbility Checks. If you try to find them to take food to them they will be at Motel 6 with groups in a room and plenty of booze. Not good choices. Few show up for the food bank on Saturday to get free food yet they are around town panhandling to get money for booze and cigarettes. I am not saying that you are guilty of any of these acts, but, it is tough for people that do help to see these poor choices made repeatedly and to continue to want to provide assistance.


Thank you for your reply because in one paragraph you hit on just about every single false assumption and misconception there is about homelessness and showed just how out of touch you are with the problem. I don’t mind a person having opinions about a topic but they should at least learn a little about it before giving a long commentary full of “helpful tips” and advice. I could answer you point by point but it would just take too long, starting with the computer/internet point for example, a homeless person could already own a computer before they become homeless, they could be using a computer at a library, or the computer or phone of a friend, and internet is available just about everywhere now. I’ll stop there because like I said, your reply is so arrogant and so full of stereotypes and prejudices that it would take a book, and since you sound like a prominent community member, I’m sure you echo the sentiments of quite a few insulated Morro Bay residents like yourself. But at least watch how you throw the word “sacrifice” around. No one has any idea how much anyone has sacrificed, or is currently sacrificing when they post a comment.


I have plenty of experience volunteering time, money and care for the homeless in town. I have the right to my opinions. I have gone into the hotel rooms full of people drunk that are usually at the park. As far as your computer and interent, no, the library was not open when you posted. If you have a computer, sell it to get money for a place to live. Which is more important? If your friend is helping you with a computer and phone how much would it take to get them to help you rent a room at someone’s house. All of the homeless need our compassion but everyone needs to take responsibility for their plight in life. When someone wont go to the church for free food what else can anyone do to help feed them? If they spend their Social Security Checks on alcohol, what else can be done to house them? Perhaps you are not one of these folks making those decisions and I noted that I did no know if you were. You like to characterize those that you think arent doing enough to help you yet don’t like being characterized yourself. I am sorry for your despair and wish you the best. If you need information about the meals or free foodbank I am happy to provide it.


I didn’t want to do this, but here we go.Volunteering time might increase your understanding of an issue but it doesn’t necessarily increase your compassion, and in your case it seems to have done just the opposite. The motel 6 people you talk about are but just one type of homeless – the ones you see (and I bet you and your buddies have a good laugh about those people after you deliver food to them, don’t you?). There is an entire group of homeless in MB that don’t hang out with other homeless people, they work, and work at blending in so that the only way you’d know they are homeless would be to follow them back to their Subaru or their overturned duck boat at night. Now, as for the computer, what century do you live in? To sell a cheap laptop you possessed before you became homeless through no fault of your own, something you could use to communicate with potential employers, landlords, etc? I don’t think anyone would even buy my laptop. Very ignorant. I won’t address the church meals and social security checks because I now understand that you think that all homeless people are on SSI, are alcoholics, and when they aren’t hanging out down at the park, are in a Motel 6 room. So, skip that. I really would like to believe that you are sorry for my despair, but I get the feeling, by reading your post and some of your other posts, that you have everything you want and really get a kick out of other people’s despair. I wouldn’t take a dime from you.


Hey, mbhomeless, welcome to the Forum For Morro Bay Ideologues. The more “dislikes” you get here, the better off you are.


And my post wasn’t asking you for any assistance – it was addressing another poster’s point about things in the city, in my case it was about housing costs, which was probably a little off-topic but I don’t see that stopping many posters here on this site.


I didnt take it as a plea for assistance. I will be happy to provide what I can though. If you would like that I will post an email address for you so that we can speak further.


MBhomeless. Sorry it is only going to get worse. New taxes and increased sewer costs due to this city council, will be passed along with increased rents and housing costs to make up for the above mentioned reasons. Do not fret however as you will not be alone, soon there will be no businesses here in MB therefore no need for housing except for the elite liberals!


I know how he feels. I live under an overturned duck boat in someone’s field and i work maintenance and have a pt job too. Even if I had enough money to get into a place I couldnt affort the rent. But it aint because of the rent, its because of what people pay, and they arent liberals that i know of. Most of them are replublcians.


The Great and Powerful Odd answers to no one. Venerated by few if at all, it’s time for him to RECALL.


Many would like that question answered but lets not just change the whole “It’s a personal issue” this one time. It’s time to change it for all public employees and officials, too many “public servants” have quietly left their jobs, sometimes with huge payments, and the ones paying the bill never get the truth only ” It’s a personal matter”, time to change that.


No, you can’t disclose Personnel matters. Can’t be changed due to liability and privacy issues. We elect officials to represent our interests. If you they are not trustworthy they should not be elected. Mayor Irons is another instance of you get what you vote (or dont vote) for. Tons of registered voters didnt vote last election. I think many regret that decision today.


“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.”

This whole thing has progressed to the point that letting the rest of us here in MB IN on what is going through Irons head is necessary and called for. It’s time to have some answers to why this action is needed to “protect the city”.

I think the termination of the city attorney and Andrea are a huge and unforgivable mistake at this time, that is my opinion…but the mistake is compounded when it so arrogantly goes unexplained to the residents of the city.


Frank Baum couldn’t have written a better story. It’s time to expose the Wizard of Odd. Behind the curtain, he and Mrs Odd are pulling the levers and pushing the buttons trying to get rid of Glinda.

Recall the Mayor, before it’s too late.

There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home….there’s no place like home…


Yeah? What’s so bad about “odd”? It works for Portland, as in “Keep Portland Weird” Haven’t you ever watched Portlandia? “Keep Morro Bay Odd” – I love it. We used to be kind of odd but the good ol boys ruined that over time.


I love listeing to people talk about where they live and should live and I can’t even find an apartment in Morro Bay ans I have to live in an old Subaru. I wish someone would require me to live in an actual house.

Human Reason

It has now been over 60 days since King Irons stated he was going to fire Lueker and Shultz. He can’t even fire somebody at will then how he is capable of anything else that needs to be done. All Cities in the state are laughing at Morro Bay and it’s Mayor. Unbelieveable.


Even Kettleman and Taft?


Wrong, she does not live in SLO and residence in the City is not a requirement.


Maybe it should be, and not limited to just city managers. If county supervisors must live within the districts they serve why not all top positions, elected, appointed or hired?


That sure shrinks the pool of talent. Or were you thinking of hiring them, then requiring them to move, paying their moving costs?


Or having people turn the job down because they don’t want to move.


Do you want to limit your talent pool to those within the City Limits and miss qualified people from other areas? Good talent has choices.


I didn’t say limit to those within this city limits, but just as those running for county board sometimes move into a given district to run, it should be a requirement to live in an area after accepting, hired, or appointed. It would certainly be a good way to understand the city your are working for.


Have to disagree with you on that. People often like where they live. House can be paid off or bought a long time ago meaning replacement housing may be difficult. Relatives are close. Children well established in schools and more. Lifestyle issues are important to many qualified people. More affordable housing in nearby communities. (Los Osos, Atascadero.) People liking warmer climate or wanting larger lots (Atascadero, Paso, Santa Margarita.) We already miss a lot of high quality people due to being located far from the population centers and trailing spouses not having career options here. We can’t dilute the talent pool further.


The best candidate for a job in Morro Bay lives in San Luis Obispo. Let’s say she’s married and her husband works in Nipomo. Their kids go to school in SLO. Now the city is going to require her family to move as a qualification for the job? Yeah, that makes sense.


In a simple answer “Yes”. Part of being “the best candidate” would be the agreement by that person to move into the city


City Manager Andrea Lueker has more integrity than Jamie Irons, Christine Johnson and Noah Smukler added together. The taxpayers of Morro Bay are aware of that too. Sign the recall. How much more are the citizens of this city going to take?


But how come she lives in SLO and not here?

Kevin Rice

What’s that got to do with anything? Is that the reason she’s being targeted by the mayor?


I don’t know. I was just askin.


As long as we are talking about where everyone lives….how about Christine Johnson living in the same “tsunami” zone she doesn’t wish the sewer to be built in? If that area is such a worry…..why would she buy a house there? Just wondering…..


Now that is funny.


youmean there’s a sewer down there in her neighborhood too? jeez, some people just can’t get enough sewers.


Same sewer we have now….she’s just down the way from it….

SO my point is….why did Christine Johnson buy a house in that worrisome “tsunami zone” they keep using as an excuse to move the long standing present sewer (that never has been damaged by a tsunami)? Why buy a home there then if it is such a worry? And why have the High School there?


So she is part of the board majority that is pushing to move the sewer out of town. Conveniently away from her property.

No conflict of interest here, move along…


….and she doesn’t live in SLO anyway. get a clue to what you’re talking about.


No problem, it’s just that it seems that there’s more rumors than facts in this whole mess, and soon enough, a rumor morphs into a fact. Too bad there’s no transparency to clear things up.


it feels good to be forgiven.


Because the roads are in much better condition?