Arroyo Grande tryst a group affair

August 19, 2014
Steve Adams

Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams


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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Dave will have Mr. Blackburn on today to discuss this story!


What station and time?


KVEC 920 – he is on 3 to 7 so don’t know the time slot for this story!


Today at 4:05 p.m. Listen live on your computer at

Kevin Rice

Or, get the “KVEC-AM” app and listen on your mobile device!


Mr. Rice…seriously? Nothing will happen from this…do they seriously just shove it under the rug? CCN….thanks for your reporting! Aaron Ochs has some learning to do!!! bahahahahah


LoOoove hasn’t helped the county government do a better job… just complicates things and makes decisions questionable.

fishing village

How embarrassing, seems like a strange place to meet up!


The phrase, fishing village, is “hook up”.


If they left any “body fluids” behind and the desk or whatever upon which the tryst occurred was not sanitized, it would be considered a biohazard.

Call in the HazMat team!


FV you are a complete IDIOT!.Walter’s leadership is clearly shining through on your part. Am sure he would be proud of you!


Here is a real gem courtesy of SLOSPAN.

Go to the SLOSPAN link (at bottom of my post) and then click on the video camera icon for “complete” video for the April 22, 2014 Arroyo Grande City Council meeting.

At the 30:57 minute mark you will see and hear the council take up the proposed salary increase for Adams.

It is interesting to note that no one on the council mentions the specific percentage increase during discussion. This is a classic case of hide the ball, as they didn’t want that info going out over the air waves.

The salary increase was 10.5% which translates to over 15,000 annually, not including increases to benefits.

Its ironic that the increase went into effect on July 4, 2014 the day after Adams was caught with his pants around his ankles (figure of speech).

At the 30:57 minute mark you will hear Council Member Tim Brown speak in glowing terms of how Adams is a family man and that that the job impacts his family life and that the salary increase is “woefully short” of what he deserves. He also mentions how Adams “energizes” staff (how priceless)

As you listen to Brown’s canned speech be prepared to grind your teeth and barf


Quote from Tim Brown during city council meeting in regards to Adams pay raise:

“I just want to take a moment um AG has to do with a pay raise for the city manager. And it’s not enough to just say it’s a pay raise for the city manager I think he is due words of praise, words of acknowledgement. He’s has worked many, many years dealing with a staff of having to do with less is more. Having to continually do less with more. And he’s manage to do that. Providing better customer service. He’s energized the staff and at times energized the council. So it’s the pay raise you see in front of you I think is willfully short of what he’s due.

Right now he’s on vacation in with his daughter and I believe he’s in Uganda which tells you he’s a family man who wants to spend time with his family as well. But he is a workaholic and spends an awful lot of time doing things for the city. Umm probably to the detriment of his family. So if you see him and you talk to him, I would suggest to you that you acknowledge to him the work that he does. Money is one thing but, he needs the praise just as well as anyone else does. So I hope that we all take time to acknowledge what he does. Because often it’s behind the scenes and you don’t hear about it, we do, but a lot of you don’t hear about it. But he what’s keeps this city going along with an energetic staff that he is in contact with and motivates. So I hope that you all take time to send him note and go by the office just a quick hello, umm because that what keeps him going. Keeps him energize…

Wow Mr. Adams the family man who spends a lot of time motivating his staff. And now we know how Adams does this. And apparently the staff knows what goes on behind the scenes but we don’t. Guess now we do.


To be fair, this quote is from April. Steve and Teresa’s “incident” was cut short on July 3. Councilman Brown may have a very different opinion at this point.


I don’t know. Perhaps Council Member Tim Brown believes that a city official having extramarital sex in the city workplace is what it takes to be a “family man.” We certainly can imagine that his “job” has had an impact on his family life.


And he did energize the employee!


Here’s Steve’s contract.

Pay raised to $157K+ benefits as of July 4 with 6 month severance for termination, unless terminated for “good cause.”

Excerpt here on page 6, Section 6. B….

“In the event Employee is terminated for good cause, then City shall have no obligation to pay the sum designated in this paragraph. For the purpose of this Agreement, “good cause” shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, any of the following:

( 1 ) A material breach of the terms of this Agreement;

(2) Misfeasance;

(3) Malfeasance;

(4) A failure to perform his duties in a professional and responsible manner consistent

with generally accepted standards of the profession;

(5) Conduct unbecoming the position of City Manager or likely to bring discredit or embarrassment to City.”

Kevin Rice

Good job finding that link, Julie! And look here—his annual P.E. is imminent:

§ 5 “…annual performance evaluation which shall occur no later than the end of October of each year”


They’ll probably have Community Development Director Teresa McClish do the “performance review.”

Lord knows, she has had enough experience with his performance.


A $942,000 cash severance package (6 months at $157k)? No wonder the word out there is “Steve’s got quite a package”. Am I confused here?


Yes, I think you are confused. That $157,000 salary must certainly be an annual figure- not monthly.


Sorry to confuse you Stunned (and others) it’s $157K annual salary, so the severance would be half that. …but, do like your play on words. LOL!

As for Kevin suggesting the annual Performance Evaluation is in October, my thought on that are that he should be gone before Labor Day. But, as we all see from the hanky-panky in high places it’s going to take the electorate to effect change.

Let your voices be heard. You must apply pressure to those you’ve put in office.


Well I totally blew that one in a hurry to get my pun in. Certainly poor math at its finest and a local education demonstrated!! :)


We didn’t put Steve ‘in office’ and there is nothing on the ballot this year, or in the near future, that we can make electorate change on.

No one runs against the Old Gray Mare (Ferrera) so how can change happen?

I live in the AG 93420 zip code but cannot vote on/run for anything AG city *or* District 4. It’s bullshit. I live three minutes from the Village and less than 1/2 a mile from the district border, with no ability to be involved.


You could live across the street, read the sign, that’s what “City Limit” means.


I understand Tony is pushing for someone he appointed to the planning commission to be elected to City Council this Nov. We need to make sure Councilman Brown is reelected to avoid Tony “running the table”.


How many of you are brave enough to show up at the next city council meeting next tues and ask Steve Adams to resign?

It is easy to wag a tongue on here, but let’s see who show up and speaks their peace, I for one am willing to beat none of you will, including Kevin Rice.

Kevin Rice

A “bravery” challenge from an anonymous person. Fine irony! I am amused. Well done.


Mr. Rice you should feel honored, you were at least mentioned by name, but given the source, or at least the unknown source, I can understand if you are not.

Kevin Rice

First Councilmember Ed what’s-his-name, then Caren Ray, now this. A.G. needs a condom dispenser in City Hall. Or, maybe that’s the problem? To think Ferarra is getting another two years of unchallenged cronyism is just sickening. What’s wrong with A.G. voters?


Not sure how it can be the voters issue when there is only one name on the ballot, do really think a write-in person could win? It speaks more of the system and the kind of campaign a challenger thinks Mr. Ferarra would rage against them.

Kevin Rice

If no voter ever runs against Ferrara, then it’s a voter problem. It’s not about what campaign Ferrara would run—no one wants to run against an incumbent because it’s too much work.


I respectfully disagree, one has to ask knowing the campaign would bring mudslinging to a new level, the lies that would be told, bringing to force all Mr. Ferrara’s friends to make the life of anybody who ran against him beyond difficult, you still think a resident of A.G. would want to go for this?? and you blame the voters?? Blame lies mostly with the city council, and all of those that covered this up.

I certainly wouldn’t state that everything that happens in whichever city or county that you live in that goes wrong is your fault because you are a voter there.

Voters have less power than we are told. The whole “One vote is important” statement just isn’t true currently. This said voters still need to use the little power we have, the failure of the recent fire assessment is proof.

Kevin Rice

Collectively, the voters are at fault. Recall is in the voters’ hands. Apathy breeds corruption.


To me there is more apathy to those who can but do not vote, any given election we normally top off at 40% of possible voters.


Actually, giving each politician a condom would be an interesting message in many, many ways.


Lets remember these are the geniuses asking the Citizens for more power with their self serving Charter, Measure C-14. Lets sprinkle some cronyism with even more power to rewrite the rules to benefit themselves and fleece everyone else. Ugh.


Thanks to Cal Coast for once again exposing dishonest public officials.

Anyone want to wager if the spineless yay-hoos over at the Fibune will dare weigh in on this matter or if they will simply bury their head in their Duerr?

Most likely the Fibune will just continue shaking the pom poms for the various city tax measures that are designed to fleece us commoners while the city and county officials keep scratching the Fibune’s back by pouring $$$ into the Fibune’s public notices and advertising.

The Fibune management should be publicly flogged for their disservice to our communities.

Kevin Rice

Truly, without CCN. we never would have even known.

Extremely Stoic

Why publicly flog when you can boycott the paper and their advertisers?

Kevin Rice

Why not both? I have personalized my ad blocker to block every Tribune ad and their dozens of third-party cookies that infringe on privacy by snooping on every page click. It’s extremely effective.

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