Controversial colonel takes over as Morro Bay city manager

September 29, 2014
David Buckingham

David Buckingham

A former U.S. Army commander, who recently lost his post as the head of a base in Vicenza, Italy, is taking over Monday as Morro Bay’s new city manager.

In August, the Morro Bay City Council hired retired Army Colonel David Buckingham to become its new city manager. The council voted 4-1 to hire Buckingham, with Councilwoman Nancy Johnson dissenting.

Last year, Buckingham lost his position as the Army’s Vicenza garrison commander after a July 4 dust-up, in which he engaged in a verbal altercation with a military policeman. In the ensuing months, Buckingham tried to transition into a career in city management.

As Morro Bay was hiring him, Buckingham was wrapping up an employment dispute with the city of Bishop, Calif. The Bishop City Council hired Buckingham, but then backed out of the contract, prompting him to walk away with a $38,000 settlement.

In Morro Bay, Buckingham will receive a base salary of $160,000 a year.

He is the first full-time city manager to take over since the Morro Bay council majority forced out Andrea Lueker late last year.

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  1. sandab says:

    This transparent City Council amazes me. They need to look the word up. Irons
    is now turning on the very people that voted him in whenever they dare to challenge
    him on his lack of transparency. It will be interesting to see how long this new City
    Manager lasts. I know the interim City Manager did some questionable things, such as
    give notice to the Dispatchers two weeks early, which made the Sheriff very unhappy.
    Has anyone tried to call the Police Dept.? Good luck.

    MB Resident

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  2. Theo P. Neustic says:

    Hopefully this one will steer the city leaders away from sticking their collective noses into the commercial fishing business, a conglomeration of many small private entities, and stay in the realm of what they are already so inept at.The city of Morro Bay does not need to be taking money from ENGOs and funneling it into programs that promote the agendas of those groups (The Nature Conservancy) at the expense of long time established private businesses.

    (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
  3. mb business owner says:

    irons, christine johson and smuckler have made a colossal mess in morro bay. they hired an interim who has managed to alienate all the departments head even though, according to a management level employee, he has given all the department heads raises and or other benefits in just the brief time he has been there. then irons, christine johnson and smuckler hired an individual with NO municipal experience for over 8K more than the former city manager who had 25+ years of experience. makes no sense. as a business owner I am terrified of what has become of our city in the last year.

    (20) 28 Total Votes - 24 up - 4 down

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