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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Looks like Tony and his cronies talked it up for an hour and a half in closed session, before putting the issue “to bed”, so to speak.

It would be interesting to know if this was a unanimous decision, or if perhaps there was a voice or two of reason who were outvoted. Not sure we can assume they’re ALL “in bed” together.

The residents of Arroyo Grande have a decision to make in November about becoming a Charter City. I attended the city council meetings when this was discussed. Some council members and specifically the mayor and the city manager stated that becoming a charter city will free them from some of the state bureaucracy and give the city council and staff more freedom in handling the cities municipal affairs.

There are good and bad examples of charter cities. If you have a trustworthy council and staff that make sound decisions, a charter city can work. After reading this article I ask, can you trust the mayor and city manager to make good decisions?

Answer to your question. Definitely NOT in the City of Morro Bay.

No we can not trust them. And power hungry Tony Ferrara is not someone to trust on the best day.

Steve has lost his moral compass and has always been Tony’s yes man. Now we have Kristen Barnich and was groomed for her position and just does not have the experience yet. Joe Costello is Tony’s yes man also.

In fact during their last campaign Joe and Tony shared the same pop up when they showed up at public festivals ect… If that is not a sign of being one and the same I don’t know what is.

Guthrie sits on the fence a lot, and Tim Brown really has not been effective IMO.

And now we have a city manager who can’t keep his pants on. And these clowns want me to give them more power, Yea right.

Can’t disagree with you, but to Tim’s credit, many times he is the lone voice of the group. Kristen is nothing more than a Ferrara puppet. The fact that she runs to Tim Carmel AND Steve Adams before she can answer the question of why Camel is doing the investigation equates to ” let me get my talking point from the powers that be before I let you know what they, I mean I, think”.

As a longtime resident of AG, I personally have a hard time trusting Steve Adams for a number of reasons. Anything that would give more authority to Tony, and thus Steve is cause for concern.

On March 25th the City Council adopted a Resolution Approving Revised and Amended Personnel Regulations.

There is a lot of good stuff in here, I wonder if the parties involved ever actually read the document that was approved.

I found this esspecially interesting, under the Sexual Harassment section:

“If an employee of the City is found guilty of sexual harassment, they may be personally

liable for monetary damages.”

Gibson déjà vu! Policies apply to everyone else ONLY.

Apparently they all graduated magna cum laude (pun intended) from the sexual harassment training.

Good point Julie. In that same document there is a BEHAVIOR section. Item 1 is Improper Employee Conduct. It states “The term “improper conduct” means not only any improper action by an employee in the employee’s official capacity, but also conduct by an employee NOT CONNECTED WITH THE EMPLOYEE’S

Given the sheer number of these reported illicit affairs among our public officials, one would think there is some sort of academy, or school they all attend as part of their initial orientation. Perhaps there is even a continuing education program as well.

No doubt they are all valedictorians.

I don’t see why people are not emailing Steve at to tell him to step down. Then go on to all the city council and Teresa’s email and state you peace.

Everyone’s email is the first initial and then the last name Lets see how many emails we can get sent to them. Ask friends, family ect.

Flood their email boxes. You forget some of you voted for this council and mayor, put some pressure on them.

They want us to become a chartered city and give them more power, after something like this occurs? If there is ever a good time for pressure it is when there is an election coming up and they have a ballot issue such as the chartering of the city on it.

At the very least, this incident shows EXTREMELY poor judgment by both Steve and Teresa. It will be nearly impossible for him to be an effective leader at this point. No one is buying the story city leadership has cooked up…not by a long shot. It’s been time for a change at Steve’s position for quite some time, things have gotten way TOO cozy. This just proves it!

well guess Kevin you are right…blurb in the news and no other news agencies have a mention of it and now this has turn to Caren Ray.

Nothing will be done by Tony and Steve will continue in his job…just wonder how many other times this has happened and the police were not called out so we never knew. Heck they both worked at other cities perhaps the same happened there.

Please cite where these endorsements are/were. I can’t find them. Am I imagining this or are you making this up?

OK Adams is there, but it is not on her campaign website, never was. Never deleted.

This please the site! “This information is provided by the Candidate” as stated by the League of Women Voters:

Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 5, 2014 20:28


Opening sentence should have read: Please read this site… Trying to do too many things at once!

reason– Candidate pages on the SmartVoter web site are submitted and controlled by each candidate. The League provides the service to create a single point where voters are likely to find information on each candidate and measure.

I would hope that the husband of Teresa TcClish would sue the city manager and the City of Arroyo Grande for the pain and suffering that the sexual relations of the City Manager with one of his employees has caused to him and his children.

I think it would be an open and shut case family. The husband and children are wonderful people and deserve much more than this.

The one problem with this is the taxpayers of A.G. would end paying for this and not the two people who should. Plus the ongoing pension payout, the cover up by the mayor and city council. In the end none of the people who are responsible would be help to it.

There is a lesson to be learned here. If the taxpayers do end up paying for this, which they will, they may become more involved next time they go into the voting booth.

I see we again have different views on whether it’s a problem with the voters.

Let me pose this question: If a large group of investors forms a corporation and elects a board that streets the corporation into breaking laws, should the stockholders pay for damages?

Cities are corporate bodies formed by their electors. Aren’t electors responsible for the actions of those they solely put into power?

He could sue Steve for “loss of spousal privileges” and that would go directly against Steve Adams the person, not as a city manager.

I just feel her husband has known about this for a while, and he choose the time to humiliate her and him, as much as he could.

ROTFLMAO!!! Caren Ray has deleted her PROMINENT listing of the slimeball from her list of endorsements.

Hypocrite. Have her endorsers deleted their endorsements because of her sexual exploits?

Talk about a rat leaving a sinking ship.