Morro Bay negotiating separation agreement with city manager

December 4, 2013

Andrea LuekerThe Morro Bay City Council’s special attorney Steven Simas is negotiating a separation agreement with City Manager Andrea Lueker. [Tribune]

The council spent an hour and a half in closed session Tuesday deliberating a severance package for Lueker but did not reach an agreement. The council directed Simas to continue the negotiations.

Simas has handled negotiations with Lueker, as well as with former city attorney Rob Schultz. The city reached a separation agreement last month with Schultz, who announced this week that he has taken the job of town attorney for Los Gatos in Northern California.

Mayor Jamie Irons initiated the separation process with both executives by calling for their firing in September. Opponents of Irons responded by launching a recall effort, which is currently in a signature-gathering phase.

Schultz agreed to resign and received more than $160,000 in severance pay.

Lueker’s contract calls for a similar payout.


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redsoxman….ha ha ha,

Wow! Now THAT is a witty comeback! probably took ya awhile….

Knowing Rob and Andrea I believe they would be the first to say, ‘no one is in a government employment position forever.

I kinda doubt you know either one, never mind what they would say about this situation.

I found something very interesting in a 2010 staff report written by Rob Schultz. It appears to indicate a very key difference between the old city administrator position and the city manager position established in 1997 – seems to be much more important than a name change.

The subject was Ordinance 561 for a meeting on 8/9/2010. Please note the text following the second “Whereas”, starting with “historically”:

WHEREAS, Section 2.12.090 of the Morro Bay Municipal Code sets forth the City Manager’s Power of Appointment of City Officers and Employees; and

WHEREAS, historically the City Manager has appointed the City Clerk, City Treasurer and City Engineer despite the exception in Section 2.12.090 of the Morro Bay Municipal Code; and

WHEREAS, the City Council desires to amend the City Manager’s Power of Appointment of the City Officers and Employees to reflect current practices, therefore the City of Morro Bay needs to amend Section 2.12.090 in order to make this change.

So, it seems that when we had a city administrator, the Council had the power to appoint, remove, promote and demote the City Clerk, Treasurer and Engineer, but then when we got a City Manager, that person then took on those powers – perhaps by virtue of a job description.

That’s a lot of control lost to the Council, and thus to the voters, that occurred when we went from having a City Administrator to a City Manager. What’s in a name? Evidently quite a lot.

Evidently, this all came to light in 2009 when the Finance Director pointed out that the Muni Code did not match actual practice, and that legally, the Council needed to formalize some appointments.

Yes, a lot of power lost by the council, preventing them to muck up the city with their inexperience, a la Irons and the current situation.

As time goes by, it is becoming clearer and clearer how the recent past Council majorities totally fouled up the City. Fortunately, now that we have a majority that is cleaning up the mess.

I talked to a person who was on the Council before Yates got in and replaced the City Administrator with a City Manager. He said that at that time, the Council handled the appointments of all city dept. heads including police, harbor, planning, parks and public works.

Since the Council is elected, that meant that the voters had a more control over the kind of people put in senior staff jobs. It also provided for a lot more transparency in government, as residents could follow the appointment process as it happened and provide their input. Now, all that is hidden from voters, and subject to inappropriate influence by special interests.

I absolutely do not want Irons to have more control of the city.

He has shown he has absolutely no idea what he was doing.

The manager implements the ideas that the council shows.

We put someone with experience in there who will be around a long time and continue to handle ongoing issues. i.e. closing of the leases with dynegy.

That way the management will not be political around election time, or will be changed every time a new mayor comes in place.

You must be very blinded if you think it would be good for Irons to hold more power.

If you want to show your support for Mayor Irons you can send him an email or come by the ‘Stop the Recall’ table at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday and sign sheets to be given to him that state. I will not sign the recall petition and I will ask my friends NOT to sign.

So I guess that’s 2 people who won’t be signing it….

And the political purpose of that is …?

Just keeping count……

no political purpose dear, just nice people who asked to send a message on to Mayor Irons that they support him. Is that hard for you to believe?

I don’t think the problem is that they didn’t do their research. They’re just willing to lie if they think it will further their purpose. To sign the recall call 464-8798 and someone will be happy to bring it to your home to sign.

No. see my response to keene88, below. I also note that no one has commented on the sudden dismissal by Yates, on a Friday afternoon, of the former City Administrator (who reportedly had done nothing wrong), and the installation in that office on the following Monday of the former Police Chief.

None of the recallers seems to be rising up to criticize that action by Yates, who appears to be a recall supporter; yet they are very unhappy that Irons and two Council members are going through the process of terminating the current City Manager – with plenty of notice.

Obviously, the change from administrator to manager made it harder to remove the person in that job. This could be viewed many ways, but one is that this would be an advantage to any special interest group that could get one of its people installed in the City Manager job.

“This could be viewed many ways, but one is that this would be an advantage to any special interest group that could get one of its people installed in the City Manager job.” Thank you, Acitvist, for pointing out EXACTLY what Irons is trying to accomplish.

Because that happened more then a decade ago, we don’t know the details of the issue and its foolish even to look back at 10 years ago and try to make sense of it.

However as redsoxman pointed out you did prove exactly what Irons is trying to do,

and I quote you, “This would be an advantage to any special interest group that could get one of its people installed in the City Manager job.”

That is exactly what Irons is doing.

Nice fabrication MB Activist. In 1997 when the Morro Bay Municipal Code was changed by Ordinance No. 459, the ONLY change that occurred was the word Administrator to the word Manager – NOTE – there were no other changes to the Morro Bay Municipal code in terms of duties or responsibilities. Read – the City Administrator had the EXACT same duties and responsibilities as does the current City Manager. Perhaps in the future you can do a bit a research before you spout “facts” .

I don’t think so, keene88. Sounds like another word recaller game – and it was apparently a word game at the time, as well.

People following Morro Bay city government at the time have told me it was definitely a significant change that may have fooled some people because it was presented as a simple name change, but according to my sources, it was more than that.

The main clue seems to be in this statement in the Muni code, “The office of the city manager is established and created pursuant to the provisions of the Sections 34851 et seq. of the Government Code of the state and all references in this code to city administrator shall mean city manager.”

Note the words, “the office of city manager is established and created”. Section 34851 is the one that specifically deals with the City Manager job. It does NOT deal with the City Administrator function. So, that had to have been added – hence, this was more than a name change.

A city administrator is not, under State law, the same thing as a city manager.

“And all references in this code to city administrator shall mean city manager.”

You posted a code that actually reads that the city administrator and city manager are the exact same thing. Thanks.

Wrong interpretation mb20.

I beg to differ.

It’s really going to be interesting to see what this council in action once Leuker & Schultz are out of the way. The circus that the recallers have created has been a big distraction and caused a great deal of tension but the council (well, most of the council) has handled it with class and magnanimity. Now, they will be able to get on with the work of the people. When the recallers start to see how lean, green, and efficiently this city can be run, and once they start driving down nice paved city streets, maybe they will quiet down.

Good luck finding the money to pave the streets after your ringmaster is done spending your money on his circus……