Arroyo Grande council calls special meeting to hire investigator

October 7, 2014

arroyo grandeThe Arroyo Grande City Council will convene for a special meeting Wednesday morning in order to hire a new investigator to delve into an affair involving the city manager and a department head.

Arroyo Grande council members Tim Brown and Jim Guthrie are recommending that the council hire Ventura-based Sintra Group Investigations to probe the events surrounding a late night city hall encounter between City Manager Steve Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish. The council agreed last month to bring in an outside investigator after an internal investigation led to public outcry and accusations of a cover-up.

Initially, Arroyo Grande’s assistant legal counsel investigated the matter and reported that police officers did not find Adams and McClish in a sexual situation in City Hall on the night of July 3. But, Arroyo Grande officers say McMahon misrepresented their statements, and public speakers at council meetings implored the council the hire and independent investigator.

A council subcommittee consisting of Brown and Guthrie is responsible for selecting the investigator, pending council approval.

Sintra Group, the firm Brown and Guthrie chose, is owned by Steve Bowman, the former assistant police chief of Ventura. The Sintra investigators will have a budget of $25,000 to work with.

Wednesday’s meeting will take place at 9 a.m. at City Hall. Critics of the Arroyo Grande council are already suggesting that the time of the meeting was chosen in order to stifle public participation.

Recent Arroyo Grande council meetings have drawn large crowds in opposition to city management, as well as the current council.

Last week, Adams responded to the public outcry by stating that he plans to resign. It remains unclear, though, if and when that will occur.



  1. doglover says:

    At all costs”

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. VAndrews says:

    It’s one step forward and five steps back with this City Council and Mayor Ferrara. It is extremely frustrating to see them do just enough to “appease” the people, but when it comes to the actual actions that need to be taken it falls short, way short.
    We have to remember what we want, which is an independent investigation. We are getting what we asked for (appease) and the Council keeps failing to hear and or heed to what that entails (fall short). It is because of this run around the natives are getting more restless. Believe me when I tell you, I am Pissed Off ! But we need to let them go through these motions and they BETTER HOPE they do it the right way or they lose their credibility, not us who are demanding proper action be taken !

    We have to give them the rope to either save the City, or hang themselves…Everyone is watching ! Let’s let them have the Sintra Group Investigations do the job they are being contracted to do and see it’s results, at least we are getting more done than before. If the investigation, and it’s results are presented we can then make a determination if the investigation was adequate, or flawed/discredited. I would have liked to have seen this all taken care of on July 4, 2014 with Mr. Adams termination…but there is so much more to the story we have to let it play out, with us watching their every move just like we have.

    Please remember, every time one of these players opens his mouth, they are cramming the war chest of the opposition with more and more inconsistent and outrageous statements. Time allows for a much more thorough investigation, new allegations to surface, and a bigger ditch for some to dig for themselves.

    I also wanted to comment about statements made during this mornings council meeting regarding how some of the police supporters, and a few unhappy residents with an axe to grind are intimidating to others who support the council and or staff. Give me a Break ! What exactly intimidates you ? Please step forward and tell me what information you have other than they are nice hard working people with families, that would support your statements of support. This is not a popularity contest, this is City Government. If you quit just believing what you are being fed and use your intimidated minds, maybe you’d get the whole point. Until then I will continue to have to listen to your Bulls**t, because this is a free Country for you too.

    Lastly, I am still so sick to my stomach at the disgusting lying vitriol spewed onto paper by Steve Adams. This isn’t a resignation…it’s almost a one page AD about what he wants everyone to believe…No mea.culpa from Adams, just blame and yet another fantasized version of what happened on July 3. I want him TERMINATED NOW, especially after the allegations he has made against the Police Association and their Labor Attorney. Steve Adams you DISGUST ME !

    (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  3. ajdury says:

    The meeting this morning was completely bananas.

    After Mayor Ferrara closed the meeting to public comment the Mayor pro-tem informed the council, well before the council actually voted on the matter, mind you, that the investigative company they were currently discussing ALREADY HAS A 7 AM START TIME TOMORROW MORNING!!

    And then SHOCKER. It was a unanimous YES vote to hire that firm.

    Otis bursting out with “Well then what are we here for?!?!” was exactly what most of us immediately thought too.

    Tony’s days of running Border Town are coming to a close. I’ve never heard him speak with such a shaky voice as he did today.

    (15) 15 Total Votes - 15 up - 0 down
    • whoswho says:

      Please help me understand…….They had already hired the company before today’s meeting?

      Because if thats the case, I would like to help Jim Hill move into his new office.

      (15) 15 Total Votes - 15 up - 0 down
      • ajdury says:

        More so that they already knew they were GOING TO hire this firm and had them locked & loaded to start tomorrow morning.

        Me thinks THAT is what made this meeting so ‘special’ and had to be called so quickly.
        It certainly wasn’t to discuss the details of the contract, that’s for sure. We the taxpayers are paying this investigator $100 EVERY SINGLE DAY HE IS IN TOWN, to eat. Is this guy going to be acting at Robert’s for every single meal?

        Who the hell needs $100 to eat every single day????

        And no cap (outside of the total $25k contract ceiling) for lodging. If the guy wants to rent a suite at Dolphin Bay there is no restriction. Us taxpayers are forced to pay for it.

        This council continually slaps us in the face.

        (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
      • agag1 says:

        Yes, that IS correct. Contract had not yet been signed, but council stated proudly that the good news is, he’s starting tomorrow at 7:am…oops!

        (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  4. snooky156 says:

    I think it’s correct to correlate crisis management at SSLOCSD with management of this “incident”. The Board of Directors of the SSLOCSD limited the scope of review of ALL outsiders during their period of crisis, which only ended when Mayor Peterson took her seat on the board and opened the books to the scrutiny of STANDARD BUSINESS PRACTICES.

    This “incident” has compromised Staff leadership and misplaced the City Manager’s role from one of principled conduct in leading the business of the city to the role of another politician protecting their own skin. While both might be nice people and they may have a majority of the City Council taking positions to protect them, the citizens of AG should be afraid of what the politicians will expect in return for shielding Staff leadership from the fallout of the incident.

    It’s too bad this happened, but drunk adults made a bad choice. I hope the voters of AG can exhibit the sober ability and willingness to recognize how much management of their city has been compromised by the incident and how the majority on the City Council leveraged the incident to keep Staff and the Police union under their political control.

    (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
    • falconbh says:

      Reading all these comments just makes me more concerned about the NEW Rate Increase coming from the South County Sanitation District “after” the elections !
      Do we have anyone on the councils in Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, or Oceano that has the courage to Vote No ?
      If we truly have infrastructure problems then we need to vote on a bond to address that specific problem.

      We should not have to pay for mismanagement, wasteful spending, corruption, legal costs, short meeting stipends for directors, and overtime bonuses for staff to attend.
      The Grand Jury Findings and State Fines tells us we all need to be concerned !

      We should not reward the Directors, Managers, Lawyers, or Insurance Company with a New Rate Increase !

      (12) 12 Total Votes - 12 up - 0 down
  5. achillesheal says:

    Did someone on the town council make sure that the owner of Sintea Group isn’t Tony Ferarras nephew or former roommate at the police academy. We can only hope.

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  6. doggin says:

    A Corrupt Investigation.
    These facts are with regards to Ferrara and the AG aboard of cronies new investigation.
    In the 2010/2011 San Luis Obispo Co Grand Jury report was released. It focused on allegations of questionable practices at the South SLO Sanitation District, the following was provided.
    2010-2011 San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury
    Page’s 2 & 3. Google the SSLOCSD grand jury report. The following is verbatim from the report. Keep in mind Ferrara was the Chariman of the SSLOCSD board, in other works in charge of the investigation.
    “The Grand Jury also learned that the Board (Ferrara) had hired an investigator to review some of the allegations of misconduct. The investigator’s report indicated he had found the allegations to be false. The Board viewed this as evidence that District operations were quite satisfactory. The Grand Jury’s review of this same investigation determined it had been ineptly performed and the investigator’s conclusions were not substantiated.
    The Board’s failure to recognize and eliminate or mitigate the conflict, and the Board’s failure to evaluate, re-bid or modify its contract with the District Administrator for more than 25 years”.
    The Investigator hired by Ferrara was Rich Thomas, AKA, Thomas consulting workplace investigations of Ojai Calif. Mr. Thomas himself is a former Chief of police for Ventura, serving for some 30 years. He also has been the interim Pismo Chief of Police as well as serving as interim city manager on the CC. He has a personal relationship with Ferrara, a former law official himself. Not to question Mr. Thomas’s integrity, however when spoon fed only what Ferrara and the AG council want investigators to hear, the investigation is flawed,bias and pointless. Again, refer to the JG’s findings of the investigation.
    Now the council has chosen the Sintra Group to perform the Adams investigation. A little back ground on the Sintra Group and Steve Bowman. A Ventura based investigative service. Mr. Bowman a former Ventura Police officer and assistant police chief, serving Ventura for some 28 years. Coincidence perhaps? Id say no, another questionable service at the tax payers cost.
    There MUST be NO connection between AG city council, Ferrara, and the investigative source hired to perform this service. This must be stopped before $25,000 of tax payer funds are wasted on a rigged investigation.

    (17) 23 Total Votes - 20 up - 3 down
    • TheNekkidTruth says:

      Not only did Rich Thomas investigate allegations of mismanagement of public funds, but what a coincidence….he also investigated allegations of sexual misconduct at the sewer plant as well!
      Numerous reports from Sewer Plant Staff complained of inappropriate sexual relations between then Shift Supervisor Scott Mascolo and Lab Tech Devina Douglas. Both of whom were accusing then District Administrator John Wallace of bilking the District of millions of dollars in unneeded and sub-par administration and engineering.

      The results from Mr. Thomas’ investigation revealed….wait for it……no wrongdoing on Big Tony’s part, and also implied that former District Administrator John Wallace was doing a great job. We can all see how accurate and factual that investigation was.

      Unfortunately, it looks like the current Chief Plant Operator of the Sanitation District (John Clemons III) is even more sleazy than those who have gone before him. Rumors “around the water cooler” are that his extramarital affair with the Sanitation District Bookkeeper has the approval of current General Manager Rick Sweet.

      And behind it all…….Big Tony. Your leader, your representative, your Mayor and President of the League of California Cities.

      (12) 16 Total Votes - 14 up - 2 down
    • doglover says:

      Wow! Thanks for the background info.
      This must be read at the meeting tomorrow.
      When I saw Ventura, I immediately knew where this was going.

      Big tony has got to go!

      (13) 17 Total Votes - 15 up - 2 down
      • agag1 says:

        It just keeps gettin’ better and better…

        (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
    • StakeHolder says:

      This is all too much to handle, it is making me ill.

      WHAT CAN WE DO???

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • doglover says:

        Please DO NOT Vote for Tony( at all coasts) Ferrara or JOE( wake me up ) Costello
        Who was unwilling to take sick time to be at the meeting this morning.

        (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
      • agag1 says:


        Fill in the bubble, write Jim Hill on the line!

        Easy two step process

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down

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