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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Where is this going? Those who live in Arroyo Grande are served by a well functioning city. Water, roads, planning, fire and police are all provided in an outstanding manner. I have no idea what may have or may have not happened between two consenting adults, my worry would be what does this distraction do to the supurb services that are now enjoyed.

Diverting money and time may rob some of the funds heretofore earmarked for road repair, water line replacement, fire department expenditures, or other uses that benefit the citizens directly. Even if an investigation finds that the parties engaged in extracurricular activities, what benefit will this knowledge have for the average citizen of Arroyo Grande?

Additionally, the expense and time involved in recruiting a new city manager and community development director would drain funds from services that directlybenefit the citizens of Arroyo Grande.

I’m not suggesting that anyone get a pass, but keep your eye on the ball — is the purpose of city government to provide services or to spend tax dollars investigating the private activities of city staff. Of course it is more interesting to dwell on a (potential) scandal rather than to hear the numer of acre feet of water pumped during the previous month.

When all is said and done knowing what did or did not happen will not add nor enhance any service provided by the city. What besides a diversion of time and tax money does this issue do for the average citizen of Arroyo Grande?

The citizens of AG would be horrified to know how many of their tax dollars have been spent to settle harassment suits during the tenure of current city officials. Are you suggesting we should just sit down, hang on, and shut up because we “enjoy superb services?”. Is it unreasonable for citizens to demand ethical, and honest leadership? The benefit of replacing those those who subject us to litigation based on their unacceptable behavior far outweights the short term cost of searching for more honorable and trustworthy replacements. Good enough is not good enough, we can do better.

Actually, the services we receive are not superb. Despite the hefty hikes in water charges, the city has no real water conservation program for residences or for businesses.

I don’t begrudge a City Manager going to conferences. It is part of being a City Manager. I don’t begrudge them staying at the hotel where the conference occurs.

The room-service breakfast I find obnoxious. However, I can say that sometimes workshops or meetings occur very early, especially when they are in the form of a field trip or site visit. Still, when I experienced those kinds of issues, I simply packed a couple of protein bars and bought coffee in the hotel before we left.

Considering the issue with the Adams-McClish City Hall Desk Fandango, or whatever, it does make me wonder if the reason Adams ordered room service is because he had a partner in the room and wanted to make the most of his time off from meetings in the morning.

So lets say we keep these 2 people, and others start to leave because of hostile work environment? What about replacing them, and what that is going to cost?

And what about the fact we lost a female officer that Steve fired and the fact our Chief of police is accused of sexual harassment

Do you suggest we just accept bad behavior and for how long. Do we wait until more people are abusing the rules the city puts in place.

Streets are paved, and yes we have fire and police. We also have elected people who are running amuck an doing what they feel is the correct thing and forget the residents. You can’t get a project through in a timely manner, we had a new project on the table on the west end of town that would have caused a major traffic problem. We have never gotten the Brisco exchange fixed because our Mayor wants things his way and has delayed the project for years now.

People don’t want to deal with the city of Arroyo Grande because they run off of two different sets of rules. So to say things are running smoothly is not really correct. We could and should be doing better, and as a resident and a voter, I am willing to pay to get to the bottom of this.

I am tired of the abuse of power from our elected officials, and it is time to change direction.

QUOTING DOGEATDOG: “So lets say we keep these 2 people, and others start to leave because of hostile work environment? What about replacing them, and what that is going to cost? ”

I think we need to be more concerned about lawsuits surrounding the work environment where it was widely known that the City Manager and Community Development Leader had an ongoing extramarital affair, and the stress that brings in the workplace.

Mitch please dont tell me that you have been severly beaten with a stupid stick.

Please review the posts by agag and dogeatdog for what should have been obvious to you in the first place.

With your logic the city manager of Bell should have kept his job …. Geeeesh !!!

missmuffet don’t tell people they have been beaten with a stupid stick.

Please review the comment guidelines.

With your logic everyone could start attacking each other.

Saying an idea is stupid is not the same as saying someone is stupid.

! or ?

Francis “Mitch” Cooney, former SLO County Clerk Recorder, you are THE ABSOLUTE LAST person who should be defending Adams & McClish. This incident is about abuse of public resources for the benefit of two city employees.

This could easily lead to a sexual harassment and/or hostile work environment lawsuit that is the subject of the potential diversion of real time and tax money.

Good “out” Julie! Hopefully that sends him back to his rock for a while.



what about the water situation, the need for street repair and improvements, help for the homeless, there are a lot of more important considerations in AG to study!

It’s very naive to think the uproar is only about Steve and Teresa doing whatever it is they were doing at City Hall on July 3. The initial incident causes an immediate uproar, but the subsequent less-than-believable recount of the events leads to anger, and distrust. Important issues of the city can be handled by true persons of integrity, we’d all be better off without the drama and distractions.

Is “probe” really a word that should be used in this article?


This is yet another item on a very long and growing list of items that would have never come to light if CCN did not exist…

I am wondering what the two candidates running for the 4th district supervisors race think about this issue, their thoughts of how the city have handled it, in the beginning, and now as the citizens have spoken? Does anyone have knowledge of either candidates comments? For me, what they have to say, or not say on this would be important come time to cast my vote for them.

One thing to keep in mind. Caren Ray served on the City Council and was no doubt on Team Adams. Posts from earlier CCN articles will tell you more.

Never waste a controversy. Call in Kenneth Starr.

Oh Mike, don’t be so s……l…….o! Inappropriate behavior is not a controversy–it’s inappropriate, unacceptable AND expensive to defend! Think beyond the “quickie” to the big picture.

Looks like we may have ARROYOGATE.

Or a Nookiegate.

I’d like to hear from the waitress who overserved this couple :D

Thsy were not overserved according to Mr. Adams who said that they have had 3 drinks.

Maybe we will get to check his city credit card if he used it.

Good for the citizens of AG. Be outraged that these people want to treat you like dolts. These elected officials have zero integrity. While it is true that we don’t know all the facts, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s usually a duck. When caught with your pants down, pun intended, it’s best to fess up and beg forgiveness. The jig is up.