Arroyo Grande tryst a group affair

August 19, 2014
Steve Adams

Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN

A late night rendezvous at Arroyo Grande City Hall involving two city officials ended abruptly when emergency workers, responding to a 911 call about a missing spouse, discovered a partially dressed couple in the darkened building.

But the sex scandal apparently goes far beyond staff using a City Hall office for late night liaisons, and includes the cost to taxpayers for the emergency response and for the pair traveling together to out of town events. Several staffers said city officials appear to have conspired to minimize the incident.

On July 3, Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish attended the grand opening of Robert’s Restaurant, across the street from City Hall.

At about 10 p.m., McClish called her husband to say she was on her way home from work and that her cell phone was dying, according to city documents.

Teresa McClish

Community Development Director Teresa McClish

Shortly after 11 p.m., McClish’s husband called 911 to report that his wife had not arrived home. Though it had only been about an hour since McClish had called her husband, he said he was worried because she has a heart condition and he asked officers to find out if she was still at City Hall, according to city records and sources.

Police dispatchers responded by sending a car to City Hall and another to check out Ralph and Duane’s, a neighborhood bar. Officers did not find McClish at Ralph and Duanes, according to police documents.

At City Hall, police discovered McClish’s green Ford Focus parked in the front lot, with her purse and cell phone inside. The lights at City Hall appeared to be off and no one answered knocks on the door or calls to inside phone lines, police documents say.

Considering McClish’s heart condition, officers called firefighters for assistance, according to city records and sources.

At 11:36 p.m., during their search of the building, officers discovered Adams and McClish in an intimate situation, several sources said. After dressing, McClish informed her husband that she had been found.

In the past, Adams has been adamant about prohibiting romantic relationships with subordinate employees. Several years ago, he insisted on the termination of a female police officer who had a personal relationship with a lower-ranking member of the force.

Following the Adams-McClish incident, city staff said they have concerns about the handling of an investigation because of the close relationships between Mayor Tony Ferrara, city attorney Timothy Carmel, and Adams. In April, Carmel wrote a memorandum recommending the Arroyo Grande City Council approve a 10.5 percent increase in Adams’ salary — to begin on July 4.

Nevertheless, Ferrara selected Carmel to lead the investigation into Adams’ alleged affair with McClish, city sources said.

On August 12, Adams sent a memorandum to the city council asking them to approve a 3 percent increase to the $250,000 the city paid Carmel for legal services in fiscal year 2013-2014.

Calls to Adams, McClish and Ferrara were not returned. A woman who answered the phone at Carmel’s office first said, “Just a minute please…” and then returned to the phone to say Carmel would “be out of the office until September.”

When asked why the city was having Carmel investigate Adams’ alleged affair with a subordinate, Councilwoman Kristen Barneich said she would have to speak with Carmel and Adams before she could respond to the question.

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Mike Byrd

I am, of course, sad about how this affects two families who, by all accounts, are not deserving of this hurt. But what troubles me greatly is the hypocrisy and sense of entitlement practiced by the city manager. He fired and ruined the career of an employee for partaking in a consensual relationship with another employee she supervised but it’s perfectly okay for him to do the same with an employee he not only supervises but who owes her continued employment to him.

Then there’s the 10.5% raise which is unheard of in government these days. The back scratching troika of the mayor, the manager and the attorney is detrimental to the well-being of our city. And that saddens me most of all.

OnTheOtherHand

Mike,

I know that you said that you will never run again after the last election but if you are an AG resident, I hope you will reconsider. I’ll pound the streets on your behalf.

Mike Byrd

Yes, I am a city resident but I think I’ve proven myself to be an inadequate politician. Given the opportunity, I would vote for anyone else for mayor, even someone I might differ with politically, just to break up this good ol’ boys club. The mayor’s coverup of malfeasance and expensive conflicts of interest at south san are cause alone to distrust and reject him. Now he’s trying to assure another coverup by preventing an investigation of this latest mess to determine if any city policies were violated.

Kevin Rice

We need inadequate “politicians”!!!! Dang it, Mike! I know the Supe race beat you up, but how about a grass-roots write-in campaign? Let the community do the campaigning for you, if they care!

Mike Byrd

Thanks, Kevin, and those who have called. One of many things I learned on my last adventure was that politics is not for me. If anyone will step up to take this on I will sign the petition and work as hard as I can on a campaign.

nurse1

Wishing we had someone of your caliber in Morro Bay. Our city is quickly going down the tubes with its current leadership or lack thereof with Jamie Irons, Christine Johnson and Noah the Smuckler. Soon to add to the mix of the 3 musketeers Matt Makowetski, you remember that guy right? He grew up working on a fishing boat that belonged to his father. But did not know the name if it. What a bunch of ?

individual

Nice to know that the public is not the sole entity being “”screwed”.

kayaknut

It seems the one difference is one entity is being screwed “by” city hall and one is being screwed “in” city hall

Perspicacious

Something strange here…why didn’t her husband go looking for himself before calling out the cavalry? Did he suspect he might find what they eventually found? Calling authorities after only an hour? Come on! NONE of this adds up to anything that makes any sense. Sheesh! Government officials suck…these two should be tarred and feather and paraded around town at high noon.

taxpayer

You know, maybe he was just worried about his wife because she had called and said she was on her way home an hour beforehand. Also, maybe he was at home with his kids. Give him a break!

Perspicacious

Just a simple question. I know I would have gone to look for her myself. No need to get your panties in a bunch.

pasoparent5

“[Teresa’s husband] said he was worried because she has a heart condition…”

Sounds like a caring husband to me. Too bad he has to go through this.

Perspicacious

Just wondering why he didn’t go look for her himself…seems kind of odd to me.

agag1

I hear she lives in Morro Bay. Obviously it’s more quick for someone here to look. Gotta feel for him…

MaryMalone

Man, that really is a good demonstration of “blaming the victim.”

I agree with Taxpayer…give the guy a break here.

Perspicacious

How is that blaming the victim? If you don’t think it was strange that he didn’t go looking for her himself, then you are living in lala land. maybe there was a good explanation…I haven’t heard it yet.

Kevin Rice

Wagerers: How many days until a sex harassment claim is filed by an attorney representing the woman against the city (the taxpayers)?

LameCommenter

And in keeping with county wide dereliction of duty and proper procedure, her suit’ll be FILED by CARMEL , LOL. these people respect their marriage vows like a box full of hamsters climbing all over each other.

analyticone

Unless he has some kind of personal epiphany don’t expect transparency from Ferrara. His track record at the sewer district is one of bullying, obstruction and denial of forensic audits, aided and abetted by counsel and cronies.

dogeatdog

his track record with everything from relationships to the sewer dist is bullying. Ask Chiuck Fellows why he left the council, IF he is willing to tell the truth to others.

Pelican1

This certainly gives new meaning to “Community Development.”
Tell me Mrs. McClish, was it your intent in participating in this act of moral turpitude, to some how get promoted? I’ve already heard the legacy of slavery excuse, and the pregnancy one too…so now lets hear YOUR excuse for bad behavior.

achillesheal

This is better than House of Cards. Too bad we can’t be privy to the corruption as well, I could cancel my Netflix subscription.

pasoparent5

ssssh
No spoilers, please! ;)

Perspicacious

Why the outrage? Nobody seemed to care about Bruce Gibson’s affair. He was reelected handily.

nurse1

Just look at the voters in this county that put the morons like Gibson into office! There is still hope for people in the south county that are carrying some brains and nuts that will vote for Compton! Here on the northcoast we are carried by the granola eating, birkenstock, Hep C positive, hairy armpit and legs ol hippie feed. And I am a democrat!

As the world turns

Arroyo Grande will never learn. How much money did the city pay out ddue to sexual harassment? Millions?

How much of an increased hourly rate did Adams recommend for Carmel?