Arroyo Grande police chastise city council

September 23, 2014
Mayor Tony Ferrera

Mayor Tony Ferrera

UPDATE: Following are the opinions of six members of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association.

OPINION By SHAWN COSGROVE

Hello, my name is Shawn Cosgrove and I am the president of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association.

First, I would like to thank the public for their support in this matter. Thank you.

Second, I would like to address the notion that the POA will be involved in selecting an investigator for the independent investigation. The POA will not participate in this process. It is not the duty of the police to investigate personnel matters and policy violations of our city leaders.

All we ask is that the selection process, all communications, and the investigation itself be made completely public so that everyone can determine for themselves what the truth is. It must be recognized that certain members of this council have chosen to prejudge the so-called evidence and have already pre-determined what the outcome should be. The only way to address this conflict is through transparency.

I would like to address a few issues that need clarity because it is apparent that the council does not understand.

The council has stated that there were no violations of policy during the incident.

This is wrong.

The council has made statements that our actions are fueled by labor negotiations.

This is wrong.

This council has publicly come to the conclusion that the independent investigation will result in the same outcome.

This is presumptive and irresponsible to conclude.

The council has expressed concern over the cost of this investigation.

The truth is, the investigation costs will be nothing compared to the cost of law suits due to hostile work environment, sexual harassment and unfair and disparaging treatment of employees.

This is bigger than the incident at city hall. The actions of the city council by publicly dismissing this issue far exceed the act by the city manager.

OPINION By JEREMY BURNS

Hello, my name is Jeremy Burns and I am a member of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association.

First, we want to respond to the statement issued by the mayor this last weekend:

Quote: “The AGPOA alleges a cover up.”

• Google’s definition of a cover up: An attempt to prevent people discovering the truth about a serious mistake or crime.
• Webster’s definition: A effort to hide dishonest, immoral or illegal act or situation.

This is exactly what we are alleging and will be addressed as we proceed.

But let’s start with the third paragraph of the mayor’s response. Yes Mr. Mayor, the community had five trained and experienced police officers who were witness to the incident that occurred at city hall.

In your response you stated, “Did the officers at any time observe the parties involved in anything illegal or inappropriate. Their collective response was no.” This is very much a misstatement.

Of course they did not witness any criminal activity or they would have taken the appropriate enforcement action and we would be standing in a court of law. But let us discuss the notion of inappropriate.

Stating something is inappropriate is a conclusion derived from the interpretation of facts. The officers were told to document the facts. They did as they were instructed, and documented just the facts. The officers refrained from documenting any interpretation of the facts or their opinions because it was against what they were directed to do. At no time did anyone ask the officers, “Did you observe anything inappropriate?” Because then that would be the officer’s interpretation of the facts. Even in their interviews, the officer’s were never asked to interpret the facts or asked if they saw anything “inappropriate.” They were never asked for additional information or to draw conclusions about what they observed based on their training and experience as professional police officers. Had they been asked to provide this information in a complete and thorough investigation, I would think we would be having a very different conversation. But since those interviews were not recorded, I guess we will never know.

OPINION By SHANE DAY

Hello, my name is Shane Day and I am a member and past president of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association.

You assert that another investigation is not likely to not produce any new information. This is premature and irresponsible unless you have already predetermined the outcome. The initial investigation was informal, inadequate and not based on all the evidence available.

Another investigation is not likely to not produce any new information? How can you make a statement like that and still claim that you are seeking the truth?

You state our letter of no confidence serves no purpose. On the contrary, it serves every purpose. As this incident progressed, we waited and waited and waited for a complete, thorough and formal investigation into the misconduct of Mr Adams. We even waited while our citizens demanded this be done. Only when it was clear that you had no intention of seeking the truth and holding those responsible accountable were we forced to come forward. This is the last thing we wanted and you have forced us into an extremely uncomfortable position.

OPINION By MICHAEL MARTINEZ

Hello, my name is Michael Martinez and I am vice president of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association.

Most importantly you wrote, and I quote, “If there is additional information that the five officers are not sharing, we would encourage them to step forward…” How dare you! More than once now you have pointed fingers at the officers instead of taking accountability and holding those responsible accountable. In this statement, you are insinuating officers are dishonest and withholding information. This is untrue and extremely offensive.

We documented the facts as directed and expected a thorough, complete and formal misconduct investigation would be conducted including all additional evidence such as the missing internal city hall security camera footage that finally just resurfaced and not just relying on one set of facts, one piece of the puzzle. All available evidence should have been sought out, discovered and documented so the appropriate disciplinary actions could have been taken. You do conduct a real investigation by sitting back and hoping that witnesses come forward; you go seek them out.

Finally, you stated, “there are some in the community that apparently are not satisfied with just the statements of the officers. Again this is clear misdirection on your part if you interpret our officers’ reports as evidence that nothing inappropriate occurred. This is insulting to everyone who has had the courage to step forward. A large part of our community (look around and point) are satisfied with the officer’s statements and are clearly supporting that we did our job properly and reported the facts. However, a large part of our community are not satisfied with the your actions or inactions and the inadequate investigation with the inadequate conclusions. For the last several council meetings, our citizens have come forward and demanded you conduct a formal outside investigation into this matter. You refused. Only after the police officers’ association issue the vote of no confidence did you suddenly think it was important enough to address this issue.

OPINION By VINCE JOHNSON

Hello, my name is Vince Johnson and I am a member and past president of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association.

Although it is inappropriate for our members to commence an administrative investigation into employee misconduct, we will attempt to provide some clarity.

In reference to policy violations:

It has been publicly claimed several times that there were no policy violations. We would like to briefly touch on this issue.

We will be referencing the most current policy manual dated 1995.

This is just one or two examples of policy violations that a real investigation should have uncovered and addressed:

The consumption of alcohol or being intoxicated in the work place either during or after work hours with a subordinate employee and using city hall as a sobering center with that subordinate employee as claimed by Mr Adams was dismissed as “just bad judgment.”

I think our community would agree that this is far more than bad judgment and amounts to misconduct as defined in Section 12 – Employee Responsibilities and Benefits, Subsection D, Behavior.

A summary of some of the policies:

Item 1. …conduct by an employee not connected with the employee’s official duties that brings a discredit to the city or affects the ability to perform the employee’s duties…

Not only is it clear that the initial incident has brought discredit to the city, but the subsequent actions and inactions in the days and weeks following the incident has brought discredit to the city.

How can anyone assert that the city manager’s ability to perform his duties has not been affected by this incident?

Under subsection F: Improper or unauthorized use of City vehicles or equipment…

A public building easily falls into this category and at the very least, to use city hall as a sobering center as described by Mr. Adams is clearly inappropriate.

Under Subsection L: Any action….that is a direct hindrance to the effective performance of City functions.

And we could continue, but I think the point has been made.

These were policy violations in 1995 and they are policy violations now.

The most concerning thing is how our city council and city management do not believe or admit these obvious policy violations occurred.

OPINION By MICHAEL SMILEY

Hello, my name is Michael Smiley and I am a member and past President of the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association.

Dishonesty

As police officers, we are taught from day one in the police academy that if you are dishonest you will be fired.

Again, some examples, but not a comprehensive list:

-Mr. Adams statements to the officer, when asked the whereabouts of Mrs. McClish. His response: Why would she be here? She was standing easily 10 feet away in his office behind his door, but he only admitted her presence to the officers when one of them walked past him and toward the office. Is this dishonest?

-How about the “missing” internal city hall security camera video footage that finally resurfaced last Friday, two and a half months later…one might construe that as dishonest.

-Or even something just as simple as the lights. When the officer’s arrived, they stated the lights in the building were off. This included the city manager’s office. In one of the statements made by the assistant city attorney, Mr. Adams stated the lights were on. Well…it seems to me someone is lying. Was it the officers or Mr. Adams? The answer was discovered when the “missing” internal city hall security camera video footage suddenly resurfaced.

We believe these dishonest statements and more would have been uncovered if anyone had been interested in discovering the truth.

Therefore the Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association still stands by our vote of no confidence.

The Arroyo Grande Police Officers’ Association intends to continue to pursue any and all available options to have an investigation into not only the initial incident, but the more concerning and now more important lack of appropriate investigation and hasty dismissal of obvious misconduct and dishonesty.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported our officers and our association during this incident that we did not create but are now being forced to deal with. Thank you.

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AGDUDE

what a joke ,The Mayor, and his crew of smerfs! cartoons !


I can just hear the Mayor, I say I say.. Boy .. Foghorn leghorn Never look so good! Your run for election Mr mayor put on a clean chicken suit… I say I say .. BOY!


whoswho

Don’t forget to write, email or call the League of California Cities. Tony should NOT be President of ANYTHING.


dogeatdog

Okay I went on their site and don’t know where to post my email, can any one help me?


I too think the League of Cal cities needs to know about Tony.


whoswho

The only information I have is their phone number (916)658-8200. They do not have a general email.


Maybe someone has information on who we should send the emails to and we can get it that way?


panflash

This was posted by Mike Byrd in the comments following the CCN article titled “Sex Scandal sinks…”:


09/19/2014 at 2:34 pm


It has been suggested that the League of California Cities should know what their new president has been up to. Here is the address for the executive director:


cmckenzie@cacities.org


doglover

Here you go

I just called:


Director Chris McKenzie

cmckenzie@cacities.org


Assistant Director : Mimi Sharpe

msharpe@cacities.org


Let’s start sending them e mails to look at google and CCN


dogeatdog

Thanks I will call it right now and say my peace.


AGDUDE

Three Cheers !!! Someone Gets it, You have rules, Policies in Place..


This is very Cut & dry, I do believe though if you want to “Let Someone go ” in these Positions, Correct me if I’m wrong , The Mayor & Council have to vote , to fire them, their position was/ is they will not vote to let these people go! ie , their opinion not to investigate.Because there is not a Dam thing you Can do!


So in short the Mayor and the majority of the council refuse to Fire anyone, thats it … so these people refuse to uphold their own city policy & rules, To the people of Arroyo Grande,What are you going to do, They thumbed their nose at you!


Myself I am happy the Police took their time ,and energy to sign their names , and tell these Bozo’s Running our City AGPD stands for doing the right thing No matter what the cost..


Otis

dogeatdog is absolutely correct saying, “When Tony asked Shawn Cosgrove to come back to the podium for a question I found it interesting what Tony said. “you don’t want to pick from the small group of people we have chosen?” The decision has been made folks, Tony knows who they are going to use.”


The police may not do the selection, but they have the choice as to who does!


The POA must insist that an independent attorney is selected by the DA.


The council also has the power to subtly control the budget for the investigation. The DA would not allow this.


Selection by the DA would eliminate the obvious and admitted council prejudice and the POA’s reluctance to be involved in the selection process by leaving it to the DA.


As dodeatgog implies, we cannot allow Tony to do it: select the attorney.


doglover

Unless the DA finds the independent investigator, the police should refuse to be interviewed.


This can all be solved because we all believe the police. THEY went to City Hall on a call, not to sober up like Adams.


Adams and Ferrara and Carmel must RESIGN before we fire their asses. We will keep coming to the meetings, making them uncomfortable. How about letters to the Editor?

Where is the Shredder?


SAVE any self respect you have and leave the City of Arroyo Grande.

We DO NOT Want You here any longer.


kayaknut

From what I understand the Shredder is having tea with the Tribune


doglover

This all will take TIME

The next Council Meeting is not until October 6th

I believe we must have some kind of unity at the Harvest Festival


The Architectural Review meetings on Monday, Oct. 6th and the Planning Commission meets on Tuesday, October 7th


Lets use Jim Guthrie as a write in candidate, then his seat will become empty ready for appointing a replacement.


Even if you were willing, you could take the oath of office and then resign just weeks into the position


WE CANNOT LET ADAMS STAY AT CITY HALL – HE IS POISONING THE EMPLOYEES with his untrustworthy ways. Yuck!


dogeatdog

Why would I want to elect someone as Mayor who does not have the balls to stand up for the right thing and say to fire Steve Adams.


I think when Guthrie choose to say they had enough evidence when it was not all in was irresponsible. I feel in a backhanded way he has said the police are lying also.


Tim Brown is the only one on that council right now who has said we needed an open investigation, and the others agreed, and then voted against it.


I think we need to work to get Steve out of office first and fore most. I think we all need to flood Steve Adams email address every day telling him to step down.


Like someone stated prior, like a major wound apply constant and steady pressure to stop the bleeding.


ccmom

Kudos to AGPD for doing what is right and speaking out against this cover up. It restores a bit of faith in a system that is so lacking in.


whoswho

To the Mayor, Steve Adams, Teresa McClish,


Save yourself, your family. employees and citizens of Arroyo Grande further embarrassment and

RESIGN. Do it now.


agag1

I bet Costello sure wishes he could take back the statement he made at the candidate formum on Monday, when he claimed the council had acted appropriately, and basically done a swell job of handling this whole cluster.

Not so, Joe!


Let’s remember that Tim has been consistent in calling for the investigation.

I hope we don’t row the baby out with the bath water on Nov 4. We need both Tim and Barbara to make any gains.

Electing only one of them changes nothing.


kayaknut

But someone has told me because of the “vote for two” even if we vote for both Barbara Harmon and Tim Brown, it actually runs the risk of getting Mr. Costello re-elected, I know sounds funny. And regarding Mr. Brown perhaps he could not have spoken about what went on in the “closed sessions”, but he certainly could have spoken in open session about the violations of the Brown Act. He is questionable at best, but does have time between now and November to redeem himself, we will see if he does.


doglover

Like I said

Old Joe has gotta go!


Is there a reason we could not have Tim Brown be the write in candidate and then Barbara is a shoe in and then have a vacant council seat left by Tim to appoint?


It is too difficult for a newby to walk into the Mayor spot.

We gotta ditch Tony.

He will never have the balls to kick Adams out.


AGDUDE

You know that appointed thing does not work out well.. That was the bases for many problems.


The Mayor head is too big, I said before I think the council has to vote , to fire Adams, you do not have the votes right now.. that’s why they refuse to investigate..


no majority vote , no firing!… that’s one reason you need a big change,,,,


Mr Adams do you think you mouthing NO, when the cops were speaking , do you believe Adams, or the 5 Officers..


who will stand up and run, Mike B, used up all his money and contacts.. Otis.. sorry thats not going to work.. sorry otis..


The AG POS laid the ground work.. so lets get a fringe .. backed person for Mayor..lol


foot steps, I believe the fringe media got this going people should of listen when they appoint Caren Ray, the drunk runners hairs.. signed sour grapes!


agag1

It’s terribly disturbing, and sad, that the folks instinctively know when something is clearly wrong,

yet it must be proven to our elected officials.

Don’t we elect them to use good sound judgment?


JMOpinion

BRAVO!!