Arroyo Grande candidate stances vary on Adams’ scandal
September 23, 2014
Only one of the three candidates for Arroyo Grande City Council agrees with the way the current council handled allegations the city manager violated city policy during a late-night interlude with a subordinate.
For more than two months, city official had voted against having an outside investigation into staff allegations that City Manager Steve Adams had lied to officers, was belligerent when discovered in an intimate situation with a subordinate, and had engaged in conduct that has cost other employees their jobs. Adams’ support from city leaders persisted until last week after an employee union filed a complaint about an alleged cover-up of the incident.
Councilman Joe Costello told attendees of Monday’s forum that the city council had handled the incident appropriately.
On the other side, Councilman Tim Brown and candidate Barbara Harmon both said the city should have implemented an independent investigation shortly after the incident occurred. Harmon said the council needs to do a thorough review of management policies to protect the city from future liability.
Over the past 15 years, Arroyo Grande has spent more than $1.5 million on sexual harassment lawsuits. In addition, multiple former victims have been awarded workers compensation, many of whom are still receiving monthly checks.
Brown, Costello and Harmon are running for two council seats. Mayor Tony Ferrara is running unopposed, though several groups are considering backing write-in mayoral candidates because of the current scandal.
All three city council candidates said they support Measure C, which would change Arroyo Grande from a general law city to a charter city. Charter city councils have more control over their cities while general law cities are required to adhere to state rules.
Proponents of Measure C claim the city will save money because it would not be required to pay prevailing wage.
Opponents contend city officials are already playing fast and loose with bidding processes, and that more lenient rules could lead to further abuses.