Ferrera defends couple’s City Hall caper

August 22, 2014
Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara

Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara


Two top Arroyo Grande officials discovered by emergency workers near midnight last month in a darkened City Hall were said Wednesday by Mayor Tony Ferrera to have been cleared of inappropriate behavior by an internal city investigation.

City Manager Steve Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish were located in the city building July 3 by police and firefighters after a 911 call from McClish’s husband, who said he was worried his wife might be in distress because of health issues. Officers then discovered a disheveled Adams walking from his office where McClish was scrambling to get dressed, police sources said.

On Wednesday, at an Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach Chambers of Commerce luncheon, Ferrera took the microphone following the club’s featured speaker to volunteer that “the incident was looked at and followed up by the city council” which then determined no further investigation was warranted, according to several attendees of the event. Ferrera described the July 3 incident as “a personnel matter” about which he could provide no details, but added the two parties involved “have a high level of integrity.”

Telephone calls and emails to Ferrera asking for verification of his comments were not returned.

“The incident” to which Ferrera referred was the subject of a special closed session meeting by the council four days after Adams and McClish were found in what a police officer later described as “an uncomfortable situation.” Adams was described by officers as appearing “disheveled.”

After ducking two days of CalCoastNews requests for comment, Ferrara, Adams, McClish, and an assistant city attorney fed their version of events to the local daily newspaper. Attorney Michael McMahon told the newspaper he had conducted an internal probe costing $1,254, and concluded that “there was nothing that indicated a need for formal investigation” and that the officers found nothing improper.

Nevertheless, city officials told the Tribune that officers said the situation was “uncomfortable.”

Adams penned a statement published in the daily newspaper in which he acknowledged the incident “resulted in an appearance that could be easily misinterpreted.” He contends McClish and he were just biding time to allow their blood alcohol levels to diminish before they drove to their homes, because they had consumed several glasses of wine during the evening.


Mr. Mayor, Steve, Teresa,

Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.


Why did Steve say they had been friends for 14 years in the Tribune article and then with KSBY we were not close friend.

And it is unusual they would go out to a function together, but they left Robert’s and went over to Rooster Creek for another glass of wine and discuss city business?

Yes, the prop in the backround of the KSBY interview, Steve with his family, how is that for over the top.

And if you thought you had to much to drink, would you not just order coffee while at Rooster Creek, or tea?

And you have to love Steve’s comment that when they heard the police coming in, they feared it could be a burglar with a gun, then wouldn’t you call 911?

That is what is great about lies, they make no sense and once you tell one you have to keep telling more of them. Keep talking Steve and Tony dig the grave a little deeper.


You know, this the dog ate my homework crap has gone on long enough…fire them all!


I have heard rumblings that certain AG execs/officials have been suggesting that this matter is the result of the police officers fabricating the facts, in an effort to enhance their contract negotiations.

I for one don’t believe this one iota and I find it terribly offensive that City Hall officials would demonize the line level employees for simply doing their job.

My advice to the AG line level employee’s is to move forward with a vote of no confidence. You deserve better leadership !!!


Mike B, I believe the police did set up these two outstanding people. The officers involved, hired Mclish to set up Steve Adams, they paid the husband to make the phone call and then WHAMO! the big bust. The police officers put their careers on the line and made the whole story up so they could get an extra raise. That is as believable as the tea story. If the police are lying then why doesn’t Steve Adams have them investigated for fabricating the story. The police made some serious accusations.


It will be interesting to see if any of the police memorandum report the offices seeing the tea cups used during this “tea party”. Officers are trained to observe such things. If Steve or Teresa gave responding officers the same explanation for their being at City Hall that we are being asked to believe, one has to wonder why police entered the building only after an officer with a key arrived. Why would they ignore officers when they always identify themselves? Knock, knock, knock…”Arroyo Grande Police Department, please open the door”. Pretty sure that’s how it goes.


The amount of hypocrisy and lies spewed from most if not all elected officials has made me think they serve only themselves at our expense. So many untruths in the past make any statement hard to believe.


Steve, some important questions remained unanswered.

1. Why city hall?

2. Why were you two “sitting” in the dark?

3. Since when is tea served in city hall after 5pm?

4. Were you aware the building is NOT alarmed, or did you use your code to access the building(if so did you have to alert the alarm company given the time of night)?

5. Why wasn’t Mr. McClish notified by YOU that she had to sober up before driving home?

(that would have been the proper thing to do)

6. If you knew that the situation could have been easily “mis-intrepreted”, then why would you engage in such behavior?

7. Did Mr. McClish know his wife was out with you?

8. Did your proposal for an increase in pay for Carmen have ANYTHING to do with his “internal investigation” findings?

9. Did your proposal for an increase in pay for Carmen have ANYTHING to do with his recommending YOU for a 10+% salary increase?

10. Define INTEGRITY


1. Why not? We have tea there.

2. Ummmmmm, why not? Increases sobering affect of tea.

3. Tea?

4. Ummmmmmm…

5. Not my responsibility

6. Ummmmm, what behavior? We were having tea.

7. Not my responsibility

8. Ummmmmm, absolutely not! Standard policy/procedure.

9. Ummmmmm, see #8.

10. Ummmmm


1) Why not? Where other than your office would you go to hang out?

2) Why light up the building unnecessarily late at night just to hang out?

3) I do not believe there is “tea service” with set hours at City Hall. You make it yourself whenever you want.

4) Sure the building is alarmed, and employees have the code. The alarm is a “burglar” alarm.

5) That’s her decision to do, nobody else’s.

6) Because it was not expected to be subject to public “interpretation”.

7) Yes, they were attending the same event as city representatives.

8) Who’s “Carmen”? The opera by Bizet?

9) See #8 above.

10) Consistency of action.

Mike Byrd

I would really, really like to believe this explanation but, unfortunately, it just looks like the typical coverup we see all the time. Maybe the Grand Jury could interview all the parties under oath and let the public know what we should believe.


Another Grand Jury investigation is the last thing Mayor Ferrara wants. His prior experience resulted in is stepping down from the water services district. Could a second possibly lead to him resigning as Mayor to avoid further scrutiny?

Mr. Holly

Wishful thinking. The Grand Jury may be the only honest tool left to address the corruption in our county. Unfortunately they have nothing to do with criminal recommendations. Maybe it’s time that the Grand Jury can be seated to address criminal activities.

Mike Byrd

Don’t know that I’ve seen any criminal allegations. The grand jury is tasked with evaluating governmental agencies. I would think this would be within their scope. What really occurred? Were any city policies violated? If something was going on were any public monies spent to facilitate it? If the basis of firing the police officer was her relationship with a subordinate whom she could not fire, is there any justification for a different outcome in this case, particularly considering that the manager could decide this subordinate’s future employment? Finally, was there a coverup and were proper procedures followed when the allegations first became known?

If there really is no fire beneath this smoke it seems to me that everyone involved should want the truth to come out and be confirmed.

As an aside, if the mayor and the manager had said to CCN at the time what they are now saying to other media outlets, this likely would not have blown up into such a big deal.


Mayor Ferrara makes no bones about his disdain for CCN. He will bash them if he’s not contacted for a quote, and in the same breath insist that he never responds to them since he does not consider them to be legitimate media. Obviously Tribune coverage is much more to his liking.


Ferrara grand jury indictment coming soon…..


Some suspect that the whole issue was covered up for over a month because a) push it past the last date to file papers to run, and b) Tony does not want this to tarnish his chance to be president of the League of California Cities.


Makes sense to me. I always hang out in government offices at 11:30 at night. Probably charged overtime, too.

But I don’t know if her husband is buying it.