Arroyo Grande council eyes reopening Adams inquiry

August 27, 2014
AG Council Member Tim Brown

AG council member Tim Brown


Stung by accusations of a cover-up, the Arroyo Grande City Council Tuesday decided to probe further into a late-night rendezvous between two officials who were discovered in a darkened City Hall last month.

Prodded by council member Tim Brown and a string of angry residents, the panel decided to set a date to consider an independent investigation into the July 3 incident involving City Manager Steve Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish.

More than 70 people attended the overflow meeting, including a dozen public safety officers.

The council may set an emergency meeting for next week, or may handle the issue at its next regularly slated meeting.

According to law enforcement records and reports of people who were present at the scene, the pair appeared “disheveled” when found following a 911 call for assistance from McClish’s husband. He was concerned about his wife’s heart condition, he told officers.

Police officers responding to the call later reported feeling “uncomfortable” by the circumstances.

When CalCoastNews reported the incident last week, Mayor Tony Ferrara denounced the website and asserted that an internal investigation by an assistant city attorney found no “wrongdoing.”

Deputy City Attorney Michael McMahon conducted an inquiry into the incident, and told council members Tuesday he had “not skewed the report in any way.” He noted that the officers had said they did not find the pair in a sexual encounter. Then he contended that Adams and McClish said they were fully clothed when discovered, which differed from officer accounts.

In his cautiously crafted commentary, McMahon said,“There was not evidence that improper sexual behavior occurred.”

Nevertheless, as details of the incident surfaced in the 18,000-population village, residents began expressing “embarrassment” and “suspicion” and demanding a more thorough investigation.

Adams attended the meeting but made no comment about the episode.

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Lah I am sure no one is really jealous over not getting it ! hey I personally don’t give a rats butt what u do when test driving your pacemaker for durability or exceeding limits of said pacemaker. the issue here is “where and when you do the test drive”. the city hall was not intended for after hours use by anyone other than the cleaning crew. I bet you that person is not sitting around waiting to sober up, or testing the limits of employment on taxpayers dollars.

Great to see the turn out at the city meeting last night. Encouraging to

hear the speakers view what most of us have been thinking. Hopefully someone

will come forward and want to run against the Mayor. I personally think both

Adams and McLish need to be placed on leave pending the independent


There still is the “big” question as to why this was not made public until a month later.

And at the expense of the citizens not being able to put in to run for office?

Will Ferrera (and the rest of city council) be a part of this independent review?

And the harm from the Adams-McClish scandal, and the subsequent fallout from the attempted cover up, continues to grow.

An intentional move to increase transparency and public access to city hall, perhaps?

For those of us who are AG residents, and whose financial information was left unsecured in AG offices overnight, it is not a laughing matter.

Don’t you suppose your “financial information” was safely stored on some password-protected computer?

In a perfect world, yes.

However, around the holidays workers tend to get a little relaxed. People take extra days off to bookend their holiday. Work that normally gets done efficiently may not get done until after the holiday/time off.

You would be surprised what kind of information is left in personnel cubbies….projects in process, unfinished entry of data, requests for bank account changes, etc. Hopefully, the CFO has a locking door to their office. However, even then, especially with the holidays, doors can be left unlocked.

In addition, there are still people who don’t use bank transfers to pay their bills. So those bills often have to be hand-entered from the statement stubs.

Well, it just goes to prove Tony’s point! There really is “nothing to see here!”

Frankly, I’m not seeing a door unlocked in the incident report but the format eludes simple folk like me. If that’s what it means my first question would be, why is it a sheriff’s report when it’s within the city limits? My second would be, who was last out the door July 3 after the unexpected crowd departed and did anyone at any time enter city hall on July 4?

LOL, thought I was the only one who couldn’t make heads or tails of it…even the circles didn’t help. I did hear a quick explanation on the radio yesterday. Apparently someone went to City Hall to drop something off, noticed the door open and called the authorities. It seems that after leaving Steve and Teresa in the building on 7/3 the police exited using the front door. The other two used another door, and forgot to lock up after cleaning up.

Cleaning up after the “tea party” that is…

Huh? Where’s it say anything about city hall being unlocked? Anybody actually know what this gibberish means?

I too was wondering about the rapid speed thumbs downs. well, another waste of paid job hours via u the taxpayer.

Imagine what would have happened to a janitor or other maintenance worker caught engaging in the same behavior. Just one more example of the arrogant attitude of government officials and their contempt for the average citizen. They behave as if we are just a bothersome group of morons with pockets to pick. We work for them, they don’t work for us.

I do find it interesting that 2 to 4 people quickly dislike any and all articles about this ordeal. I wonder which council members and/or mayor keep doing the thumbs down?

Thanks for letting us know about this mess Karen.

Poor Tony, hates CCN with a passion, yet always has to be up to speed to know what fire to try to fight next.

The same phenomenon occurs whenever public officials are caught with their pants down.

It’s the same two percent that answers any given poll, “undecided.” Who cares. Down-vote this post if you agree…

Well, now it will be interesting to see if the council comes up with a plan for a truly independent outside objective investigation that is totally devoid of any nefarious odor of cover-up.

One thing to carefully watch for, folks, regardless of who or what “investigates” this matter, is whether the resulting report uses some form of this term:

“We could find no evidence of any wrongdoing…..”

Just as a quick tip to Cal Coast News readers, that term, or any of the many variations of it, is a classic way for a bogus “investigation” to whitewash and cover up official wrongdoing. “How so?” you ask. Well, look at it this way: if the investigators weren’t actually, truly, looking for any evidence, of course they won’t find any!

The ball is in your court now, mayor and council. And we’re all watching. Closely.

The only way the AG City Council will contract for a truly independent investigation is if they are looking to throw Adams and McClish under the bus, which is what they will have to do if the city council has any chance of escaping being tarred and feathered for their role in the cover up, and especially if they want to have any chance passing the charter measure.

I think some people will give the city council the benefit of the doubt if the CC claims they just could not believe that two such up-standing people would endanger the reputation of the city and break personnel regulations, and were fooled by the tristing duo’s claims of innocence.

But, historically, the public does not tolerate politician malfeasance if it is paired with a cover up.

It is one thing for a city council with doubts about the behavior of a couple of city officials to try to head off a possible scandal at the pass.

It is quite different, however, for a city council to be beset by 70 constituents at a council meeting who are angry about what they see as a cover up to then hire another investigator, and then the CC in the faces of the angry constituents about their intentions to get a real investigation.

If the CC again hires a conflict-of-interest-laden investigator for the Adams-McClish PR disaster, it will be proof that they decided a cover up was the best of thier options to deal with this before the charter measure comes up for vote.

Does anyone know who they might hire that ‘truly’ would be independent?

I think they need to go out of this area with whom ever they choose.

How about Kamala Harris?

Even if they go outside of the area, City Officials have gone on many trips to meetings, where they have developed their base of cronies. Ideally, that is used to help advance the best interests of the city the official represents. However, often it is used to hire for an investigation which is supposed to be “independent,” but turns out to be cronyfied, as well.

How about a change in the ole motel six commercial. Perhaps it should go something like this, “Come stay and play at the Arroyo Grande city hall. Don’t worry we’ll leave the light on for you”.

Hahahaha, but remember, lights were out when the police arrived. Don’t forget to mention we serve highly caffeinated tea!

I wondered about that too. So they were just sitting around “having tea” in the dark waiting to sober up??? Yeah, that is how I like to have my tea. Wait a minute, they were just being considerate and saving us money by not wasting electricity after hours……..

Oh how true! But remember these two high integrity folks would be a claiming that as stern conservationalists “that was all in behalf of the community”

It could be that further investigation reveals they were dutifully following the suggestions & recommendations of a marketing firm hired at the bargain price of approximately 70K to produce educational information, create a FB page, etc. on how to conserve energy.

Raises the much more important question why this was “sat on” for weeks? Was it to stall so the filing dead-line for anyone to run opposite the Mayor in November would pass? Currently, he is running unopposed, the opportunity for anyone to file for candidacy has passed to the best of my knowledge.

Had this come to light earlier, surely someone would have run against the mayor. In this recurring climate of mistrust, appearance of impropriety and cover-up at City Hall, a “Vote of “No-Confidence” is called for.

Perhaps a lack of votes for him is the only way left to show our displeasure, loss of confidence and, most importantly – our trust in him and City Hall.

Will nose, the problem with just not voting for Tony, is if one person does then he gets back in office. We need someone to step forward with a WRITE IN candidate, so hopefully we can get him out of office that way.


Mike Byrd????

I don’t know him but his posts are thoughtful, and reasonable…refreshing!

I wish there was someone I knew who would be willing to be a write in. Maybe someone will come forward at the next city council meeting and get up and say they are willing to do the job if the get enough votes.

One can dream can’t they?

Jim Dickens ?

More Retreads That is the problem to start with.. NEW Blood!