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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slophocles

Our objective local journalist has been doing some freelance writing. Check out his latest work at fogcutternews.org Too bad we can’t get him replaced too. Imagine all the one-sided reporting we’ve been getting over the years, that is when there is reporting, which isn’t often.


mbactivist1

Anyone who believes this might be a sign of less-than-objective reporting in general may want to contact the publisher of the other news source that this “objective local journalist” works for mary@tolosapress.com


taxpayer

And anyone who believes that Neil Farrell has a right to his own opinion can contact mary@tolosapress.com and thank them for the wonderful job that he’s been doing for so many years in our community. As far as I know, this is still America and freedom of speech is still allowed.


MajorityFan

If he would publish his articles as opinions rather than news it would be fine. Unfortunately that has not been the case with the majority of NF’s articles. They should be published in the opinion or letters to the editor section of the Bay News… or added to the Police Logs section.


Once my pet canary dies I will no longer need that newspaper to line my bird cage.


Word

Neil Farrell has a right, but people need to remember fogcutter is not news it’s a 501 c, it is a PAC for politics not for news.


mbactivist1

So true, Word. It sure isn’t news.


By the way, do you know if that is a new 501c, or is it a new face put on the 501c4 that was started a couple of years ago by one of the recallers?


The one I am thinking of was started after someone was sued in regard to a building project that violated the Morro Bay Local Coastal Plan. The related Web site solicited contributions to help fund legal help for “victims” of such lawsuits.


Word

Yes

“All donations are tax deductible. Save Our City, Save Our County, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization”


This is on the donate page but the link to pay pal is broken so who knows what is up.


mbactivist1

OK, that is the same one set up a couple of years ago by one of the head recallers. At that time, it was for a different purpose. Looks like it has been repurposed.


If anyone tries deducting a contribution to that group, that person could have a problem.


” Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(4) This classification covers organizations that lobby legislative bodies on behalf of specific causes and that work primarily in social welfare activities. This group also includes some volunteer fire departments, civic organizations and local employee associations.


Contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations are not deductible as charitable donations. (Exceptions are volunteer fire departments and similar groups collecting funds to be used for public purposes, and most veterans’ organizations as covered under 501(c)(19).”


In other words, contributions to the fogcutter cause are NOT tax deductible.


mbactivist1

I just checked the donation page. That 501 (c) 4 is the same one set up a couple of years ago. It was set up by one of the current recallers and fogcutter writers as part of an effort to get donations for people to fight lawsuits filed against their building projects. That person had just been, and is still being sued over one of his projects.


That donation page doesn’t appear to me apply to the fogcutter in general, but maybe it does and they just haven’t updated the page. Regardless, the fact still holds that anyone who donates to that 501 (c) 4 cannot legally take a tax deduction for that donation.


mbactivist1

Yes, but this kind of action does tend to support long-standing complaints of extremely biased reporting in articles that are presented as news, not labeled as the opinion pieces that they are. That, I believe was the point being made.


Word

“in articles that are presented as news, not labeled as the political biased opinion pieces that they are”

FIFY


To think people critisize CCN for politics, yet the trib and others are influencing politics all the time.


mb20

What does this have to do with any of the issues at hand?

Where is the moderator at?


coco

;>))


fishing village

For years residents have been saying that with every department covered with quality, capable ‘managers’, and we don’t have many, why do we neeed a General Manager?

An expensive referee for the funds to be distributed? The work load to be decided? There may be a way to do without a City manager and spend that money within the other departments? Just a thought.


coco

excellent thought


mbactivist1

It appears possible. We are a general law city (as opposed to a charter city). I found this online regarding the type of government that State law requires for general law cities:


36501. The government of a general law city is vested in:

(a) A city council of at least five members.

(b) A city clerk.

(c) A city treasurer.

(d) A chief of police.

(e) A fire chief.

(f) Any subordinate officers or employees provided by law.


So, it appears that we do not legally have to have a City Manager.


Per the Morro Bay Municipal Code, the office appears to have been established by ordinance, as prescribed in the following State law.


34851. An ordinance establishing a city manager form of government

may be:

(a) Enacted by the legislative body; or

(b) Submitted to the electors by the legislative body at any

municipal or special election; or

(c) Submitted by the people as an initiative measure.


Morro Bay’s Municipal Code section 2.12 covers the City Manager position, and has this reference: (Ord. 459 § 15, 1997: Ord. 14 § 1 (part), 1965: prior code § 2700)


Kevin Rice

And just what form of different government would replace having a city manager (that every other city has)?


I’m interested. Maybe elect a city manager?


mbactivist1

What would replace the form of government with a city manager would be the form without one – which may be what Morro Bay had prior to 1997. That appears to be when the position was established, but I would need to do more research to confirm that.


I found an interesting article, written in 2010, that will shed some light on this. Here is the pertinent content of the article, which is titled, “The California General Law City”:


“Seventy five percent of cities have a professional administrative head. The city manager, sometimes called a city administrator, directs day-to-day operations and enjoys executive powers, while the city council sets policy by ordinances usually generated by staff. The council may take on varying degrees of political leadership by integrating community wishes with formal government.


In the second typical organization the city council has greater executive powers. City staff and managers answer to the elected. These councils enjoy legislative decision making in developing local law and city policy.”


So, about 1/4 of the general law cities in California evidently get along just fine without a city manager. Maybe they can’t afford one. Eliminating the position would sure save money. Also, by avoiding concentrating too much power in one person’s hands, we could reduce the risk that a special interest group could exert inappropriate control over the City.


Kevin Rice

Sounds intriguing. You’re on the inside. Is that what Jamie is keeping quiet about? Why doesn’t he just propose the idea in the first place? I mean, tell everyone what his vision is? As an advocate of transparency I think it’s kind of a prerequisite to share your vision, and people are a lot less sketchy about things when they know what the plan is. So, is this the plan? When is the mayor going to share it? I’d like to hear more, certainly.


mbactivist1

I am not an “insider”. I just pay attention to what goes on. I have no idea if Jamie is considering eliminating this position. However, if he were, I think he would have said so at the very beginning.


In fact, I have never heard this idea suggested before by anyone, but when fishing village brought it up, it sounded to me like a great idea for saving money, and I hope the Council will consider it. When you count the big salary and the huge pension expenses that go on for years, eliminating a position like this could potentially save the City a bundle.


My guess, and it’s only that, is that elimination of the City Manager position was never even discussed by the Council. I suspect there were performance problems, based on what I have seen, and others I know feel the same way, but we base that only on our personal observations.


mb20

Considering the fact that San Simeon even has a city manager, Charles Grace, shows that would be completely impossible.


You can pay them less. But you get what you pay for.

No one already wants to work with this council already.

Can’t imagine what it would be like with a pay decrease too.


mb20

How about the fact that Cambria CSD’s general manager makes more then what Leuker makes?


$157,500 for considerably less issues.


If you think your going to find cheaper city management you are just foolish.


Kevin Rice

Fair enough. I didn’t know this was supposed to be a guessing game though. I’m hearing interesting and non-standard ideas. Can they let us in on the secret? Really, what’s the plan to save money? It’s all so secretive for no apparent reason.


Redsoxman

And what have you “and others” seen to suggest performance problems? Try to give some specific instances, not pot-stirring rumors and allegations.


mbactivist1

An instance that bugs me as much as any of them was the failure to acquire a piece of property on Panorama – it was government surplus and could have been acquired for a fraction of its value. If I had been the City Manager, I would have been all over that – especially since the Council had instructed the staff to acquire it.


So, the deadline to acquire the property came and went, and the person assigned to do the paperwork said he hadn’t done it because he didn’t have time. Where was his manager, the City Manager? Did she not require weekly status and progress reports on important tasks like this?


Anyway, that’s just one example, but it has always annoyed me because it cost the City a valuable piece of property and all because of lack of good management. Interestingly, the details given above are for the second time the staff was instructed to acquire the property and failed. Lueker was City Manager at the time of the second failure. I don’t recall who was City Manager the first time around. That time, we could have gotten the land for free.


mb20

http://www.slocoastjournal.com/docs/archives/2011/june/pages/fourth_estate/missed_opportunity370.html


To mbactivist:


That parcel of land you speak of was considered to be possibly contaminated and have oil problems.


The filing was also missed by former public services member Bruce Ambo, not Leuker or Schultz. And he later, “resigned,” from the city following this mistake.


Notice how Bruce Ambo’s resignation though went so much smoother then Schultz or Leuker’s did under mayor Irons…


Also lets take note that Schultz was the one involved in the firing of Ambo because not only was he attorney at the time but he was also the HR.


He took on another job without a pay raise during the recession.


mbactivist1

Evidently, we have reached the limit of the software that keeps track of the threads – so since I cannot reply directly to mb20’s post, I will put my reply here.


Yes, a particular employee did miss the deadline, but the point is that this was something that the Council instructed the staff to do, it was important, and the City Manager failed to make sure it happened. The person who was supposed to do the work reported to her, and hence, the buck stops with her.


taxpayer

It’s obvious…..Jamie Irons wants to be King!


Word

Great idea, write a initiative to create a quasi-monarchy in morro bay then elect your new king.

The tourists would love it.


Kevin Rice

I suppose an elected city manager would be a good thing. More democratic. It might be difficult to find good candidates in a small city, though. Would you pay them less? I don’t understand how that would save significant money, but it’s a pretty good idea.


Kevin Rice

You could combine the jobs of manager and attorney. Or manager and city clerk.


You have to have SOMEONE that makes administrative decisions above the department heads. That can’t just be an empty seat, ya know? Because the city council doesn’t hire/fire department heads. That’s the city manager’s job. So someone has to fill that role.


I think Santa Barbara has more of a “full-time” city council situation going. Council members make around $40,000. But even they have a city administrator, so I just don’t see a way around having a top manager.


Kevin Rice

Or… you might be able to create some sort of “strong mayor” thing and put the mayor in charge of everything. That’s quite unheard of, I think.


Redsoxman

Why Kevin, you silly boy, you just described the Morro Bay situation….


Kevin Rice

Oops.


kkeene88

Watched a bit of the hearing yesterday and realized the 2 hour meeting was costing $350/hr in attorney (2 attorneys) fees. Wondering how long this negotiation is going to take. Perhaps Leuker is going to take another route and the mayor is trying to figure out how the hell to explain it to the residents?


slophocles

Just read in the Bay News (the paper that covers Grover Beach, AG, Pismo, and SLO news better than any newspaper in the county) that the Recallers have gotten pranked by some imaginative Anti-Recallers. Is this believable, or more delusional pro-recall hysteria?


taxpayer

It’s all true. These are not nice people.


mbactivist1

You are, of course, referring to the recallers :)


Redsoxman

No, he/she is using you as the poster girl for Irons Supporters Inc., and the shoe fits perfectly.


coco

delusional


mbactivist1

Most likely, it was staged by the recallers. That would be just their style.


Dapperman

So, what’s to negotiate? She has a contract and a severance agreement already, did they spend a few hours begging her to take less?


Redsoxman

This kind of delay happens when you add an inept lawyer to and inept mayor….


coco

more like an inept employee trying to squeeze the City/Citizens to the maximum

for the almighty buck, doing a repeat of the schultz exit, which was all about them and

not for the better good of the city.


slophocles

That was a little harsh.


coco

reality


slophocles

That was a little harsh.


mbactivist1

Harsh, true, but probably accurate as well.


Redsoxman

“Probably accurate”? Let’s see some facts that show how inept she is. There’s already been enough facts posted over the last few months to show what a good job she’s done. Again with the hate, how do you live with yourself?


mbactivist1

No hate, redsoxman, just concern over bad management.


Redsoxman

One more time…the City Council directs in what direction the city is going to go, not the other way around. The City Manager’s and City Attorney’s jobs are to follow that direction within the financial and legal parameters they have to work with. You don’t just dump them because they are sometimes the bearers of bad news. The bad management comes from the top, always has, always will.


Progressiveshateme

I think the obligation to do what was best for the City ended when the City Council fired them.


mb20

Inept employee? If they were inept they wouldn’t be getting severance.


The severance is 100% Mayor Irons fault. He is the inept one.


He could have had a reason to fire them or wait for there yearly evaluation. He could have sent an RFP out now, evaluated new candidates and compared them Leuker when the evaluation came up. And then give no severance and have a new city manager…


Instead he showed he clearly had no idea what he is doing.


I hope she takes Irons to court so we can see what really has been going on behind closed doors. You should be thankful if she takes the settlement cause Irons will be ran out of town otherwise. And I’m not referring to him being mayor again, that was already long lost.


mbactivist1

Well said, coco. She is probably trying to hang onto that job as long as she can because she has no other prospects.


mb20

Ahhhh I remember when you said that about Mr. Schultz too.


Progressiveshateme

She has nothing to lose by rejecting what she agreed to. The agreement will require her not to sue or disclose City Business. She may feel that she has damaging information that could help her prevail in a court case that would pay her even more, or things that may cause the city “leaders” to be further disgraced or have added liability.


mbactivist1

More likely is the fear that damaging information may come out when she leaves and people start digging into things that have been going on under her and Schultz.


mb20

If there was ANY reason for firing with cause don’t you think they could have gotten Schultz to take slightly less then full severance?


This delay is happening I bet because Leuker is about expose how Irons has been for the last year. And then we will really have to get the popcorn ready.


fishing village

Andrea, like Rob, will get a new position. Let’s keep cool heads hear and stop the name calling , nasty remarks. What we need is a fresh new beginning and support for the council. Give it a try, Morro Bay people.


slophocles

Yes, let’s move forward. We’ve got a beautiful town.


coco

exactly!

and quit trying to get political mileage for your ridiculous recall


Progressiveshateme

How is the Recall ridiculous when it is permitted by law? Which group has spent more money on advertising their opinions for this? I have not yet recevied any mailer from the recall group but have from Mayor Irons supporters.


mbactivist1

Ridiculous because the so-called causes are all bogus. The whole thing was cooked up by a small minority angry at losing control of the City. Some believe that a certain ex mayor is supporting it in hopes of using it as a vehicle to support a comeback. All the signs are there.


mb20

If it is really just a small minority like you claim what do you have to lose by having it on the ballot? It just wouldn’t pass.


Your afraid he is going to lose. And right you are, because this so called, “small minority,” has grown much bigger then you realized.


Time will tell indeed.


mb20

How is the recall ridiculous?


The city of Morro Bay will be given four options by the recall:


1. Mayor Irons needs to be replaced immediately (overwhelming support against him)


2. Mayor Irons needs to be replaced ion Dec (he loses the election.)


3. Mayor Irons needs another voting period in Nov to decide (doesn’t lose by landslide.)


4. Mayor Irons wins election.


I don’t see anything wrong with a recall.


If your confident that Morro Bay still thinks Mayor Irons is a good mayor you wouldn’t be so opposed. However, your aware he has royally screwed up and can’t admit it to yourself.


mbactivist1

Such nonsense. Irons is the best mayor we ever had. He is honest, ethical, and is cleaning up the corruption in Morro Bay. The recallers want him out before more of their misdeeds are discovered, but it’s too late for that.


coco

won’t be long and it will all unfold and come out

;~)


mb20

Well we will see, Irons is the one who should be worried.

If Leuker takes this to court I feel bad when Irons has to leave this town.


I haven’t said anything yet but I know employees within the city hall and Irons is far far from honest and ethical. He’s just lucky it hasn’t been disclosed yet.


Pelican1

What we are witnessing is the Great Purge of Morro Bay, its goal was to sweep away all of Iron’s real and imaginary enemies. Nice job comrades.


slophocles

Purge, enema, whatever you want to call it – sometimes a government just needs a good cleansing. This one’s needed one for about 20 years.


Progressiveshateme

The colonoscopy will happen in June.


slophocles

And the results will be “negative”


Pelican1

Actually, a colonoscopy may not be necessary. We have a diagnosis accompanied by a grim prognosis unless successfully resected through the recall process.


coco

dream on


Redsoxman

Geesh. How long is this going to drag on? Is it because now we now have to not only deal with an incompetent mayor but ALSO his incompetent attorney?


slophocles

Been pretty damn quick, if you ask me – despite all the attempts to derail it.


Redsoxman

Yeah, YOU’RE not the one coming to work every day since the middle of September wondering if you’re going to get fired and having your work ethic publicly questioned. Nice workplace environment….


Public_Parent

“coming to work every day since the middle of September wondering if you’re going to get fired”


I don’t think she’s been wondering.


Redsoxman

Hell, she’s been pondering this possibility since the dolt took office!


MajorityFan

What does George Leage taking office have to do with Andrea’s termination?


mbactivist1

Good one, MajorityFan! :)


kayaknut

“coming to work every day wondering if you’re going to get fired”


Well welcome to the private sector…. but then again we don’t get nine months severance and can not bank unlimited vacation and sick time or a draw from a underfunded pension system that just heaps more and more on the backs of the “real” taxpayers


Redsoxman

Well then, maybe if you’d paid more attention in school, you could have landed one of these “cushy” jobs that can commonly require 14-hour workdays and venom form “real” taxpayers such as yourself. Buck up, cowboy!


kayaknut

No thank you, I’d rather work hard, earn my own money, and do the right thing, save as needed for retirement, and I have no problem paying reasonable taxes for services, but that hasn’t happen for years, decades. Far too many taking from the few paying and all our elected officials want to do is take more from the few instead of reducing those many taking.


Redsoxman

Yeah, let’s just lump these two with all the other fat-cat politicos you’re talking about. Just ignore the long work days, the unpaid appearances at city functions and volunteer work they did, and the daily verbal abuse they were subjected to people like you, people who see black and white, people who live for stereotypes.


slophocles

And liberals are the over-spenders and lovers of big gov’t? I guess some just don’t know what to make of these new lean-green progressives that believe in running a tight ship and cutting long-term fat. I’m sure it will take some getting used to, as Old Boy Morro Bay slowly dissolves like so much waste water, into the appropriately-located treatment facility.


slophocles

Hmmm, maybe that explains why I saw about three city streets being prepared for paving today.


mb20

If you think that city attorneys or city managers deserve less you are just foolish.


For there professions you make 100,000-200,000 dollars more in the private sector at least.


Thats why they get severance packages for them.

By paying them considerably less money you give benefits and job security so that someone will consider taking that job.


Take it away and no one would ever become a city attorney or city manager.


grayotter

I don’t think public employees should make more wages than the Govenor, who is still under $200,000…


coco

called a greedy employee ripping off the system for an ILLEGAL 9 MONTHS SEVERANCE

PACKAGE


islandgirl45

Jealousy is an UGLY quality.


coco

FACT: ILLEGAL 9 MONTHS SEVERANCE PACKAGE


mb20

Which was illegally reduced to 6 months also…


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