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.

Mike Byrd

1. Why couldn’t this meeting wait six days until the next regularly scheduled council meeting?

2. If it couldn’t wait, why is it scheduled for 9:00a on a workday instead of 6:00p?

3. Why has the proposed contract been kept secret before the public meeting?

I can think of only one answer and it is the same for each of these questions. Can anyone else think of an answer other than stifling public participation?

The scope of the investigation which is unknown at this point is critical. Will they just be rehashing whatever happened July 3 or will what happened after July 3 be included? And will the final report be made public?

So many questions and so few answers coming from the mayor and council.


Interesting that of the 3 members who hold 9-5 jobs, 2 of them were the ones who were to select the independent investigator. So, planning the special meeting during their normal working hours means they have to miss work, or maybe take sick or vacation time to attend a 9am meeting.

Like many, I can not attend because of my work schedule. I wish I could so I could ask why the investigator needs $100 a day for meals? This is not New York- I really doubt anyone could spend that much on one person locally.

Also, I wish I could ask if the investigator will be given the video’s to show? Can’t hide the truth on camera. Adams shirt was out during the evening, but half tucked in when police arrived. McClish is seen going to her car, with Adams waiting in the alley across the street for her to flash her car lights to signal that the cost was clear for him to come over as well. The view of both of them in the staff kitchen (making tea I assume) has the door opened…then for some reason Adams goes and closes the door while they are inside the kitchen! No one is in the building, why would he do that? (maybe because the camera faced the door?) They then exit and walk towards his office down the hall (coffee cups in hand!). Yep, they were drinking tea, but that proves nothing.

If Tony is putting this investigator up to find nothing, I doubt the investigator could report back that after seeing the tapes and reading the police reports that this was all OK.

Whatever the outcome, how it was handled by our council/mayor is what we should be questioning. We need to shake up that council…Elect Barbara Harmon for “a new perspective” and get King Tony off the throne and WRITE IN Jim Hill as Mayor!


I don’t agree that anyone on the current council should be choosing an investigator or an investigative firm. I do believe that the DA’s office should be conducting any and all investigations into allegations of city council; Mayor and city manager cover up of the events surrounding the July 3rd incident and subsequent actions taken beyond that by all city officials and staff. Unfortunately all I see happening with this firm that the council wants to retain is more of the same. The report won’t be made public and I’m sure King Tony will do his best to squash it.

So I have another question about this “Special meeting” Why is there no mention of accepting Adams resignation part of this meeting? Answer; because there is NO resignation. AG residents please keep the pressure on as this council and city manager are trying to slip the wool back over your eyes once again.

If I was an AG resident I would be voting JIM HILL for Mayor!!


So if the investigation is not going to be made public and all efforts are going into not having any public input to the selection and depth of the investigation, then isn’t this a huge waste of money…sure Tony will see that it costs as much as possible and the city attorney gets another big pay check at the taxpayer’s expense.

Further, no matter what the investigation says if the public is not allowed to see the transcript, Tony will be able to say it match what the first investigation said nothing illegal happened. Unless sex became illegal…I think we already know it’s not illegal – it is against personnel policy and other employees have been let go for violating the city’s personnel policies.



This is about the fact that many CITY EMPLOYEES WERE CONVINCED BY whatever MEANS TO KEEP QUIET

( because this was not big deal?) until at least after August 8th at 5 pm THE FILING DATE

So KING TONY could be assured no opposition for council and an easy vote on the CA LEAGUE OF CITIES

If 2 employees at your place of work were caught near midnight in the dark after going our for drinks; what would have happened to them?


And if the supervisor of those two employees didn’t place them on administrative leave pending an investigation, what would have happened to him/her? Perhaps they would be accused of playing favorites, especially if other employees had been terminated for a similar offense.

The investigation should be focused on WHY the council defended Mr Adams based on a wimpy, worthless investigation by the assistant City Attorney, which they then tried to pass off as thorough. Guess again!

The citizens DO NOT believe the council did not have access to more complete information, we DO believe they knowingly and deliberately ignored the WHOLE truth.


THIS IS ABOUT THE COVER UP AFTER JULY 3rd, not what 2 people did.


YES, they are ALL lumped together at this point!


Exactly what is the $25,000.00 to be used for? To tell us all what we already know?

Couldn’t the Grand Jury do that for a lot less?

My suggestion is IF an investigator is hired, that the fee charged the city will in turn be handed over to the guilty parties for payment upon their dismissal.


Please attend and ASK QUESTIONS you think need to be answered by the investigation:

Such as…

If you loved your family so much and were not having an outside of the office personal relationship with Ms. McClish, then why would you go for one more glass of wine at Rooster Creek after four days of work, a long day and the beginning of a 3 day weekend?

Are you crazy?

Why so much uproar from you, Mr. Adams if you did not lie to everyone, but especially your family? If Adams and McClish were having tea they would have politely greeted the officers at the door when they knocked.


Tim Brown & Old Joe(wake me up) Costello should be furious. Steve Adams has broke the law of all elections. KEEP THINGS QUIET AND DO NOT STIR THE POT BEFORE AN ELECTION. but King Tony tried at least until after the filing deadline didn’t he?

Rich in MB

AG voters have finally had enough and the board is afraid of the voters…finally. Elected officials should always live in fear of the voters….but when the good-old-boy network get hold…the voters become afraid of their Government. Time to reset the scales my friends…power to the people!


And the hits just keep on comin’.


Please take a moment to read this news article regarding Sintra Group. It’s a long one but the investigation they performed and the report provided to the city council was not made public! Get ready folks, this is yet another way to deprive the AG citizens transparency. Oh, and if you think this “investigation” will be completed prior to the Nov election, not a chance.

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