Arroyo Grande manager on paid administrative leave
November 19, 2014
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
The Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to place embattled Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams on paid administrative leave after reviewing an investigation into an alleged sex scandal. The order takes place immediately, and Adams will draw full pay until a new manager can be named.
Following a closed session to determine Adams’ future, council member Tim Brown admitted that City Attorney Tim Carmel had informed him of a previous incident involving Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish, a subordinate employee. Brown’s statement came on the heels of repeated claims by city officials that there was no evidence Adams and McClish were involved in a romantic relationship, nor was there proof of a cover-up by Ferrara and the council.
“I commend Mr. Carmel for revealing this,” Brown said.
Brown also said that outgoing Mayor Tony Ferrara had attempted to keep details of the July 3 incident from city council members. Ferrara, defeated in a stunning upset by write-in candidate Jim Hill, was not present at the meeting, opting instead to attend a conference in Texas. Before he left, however, Ferrara leveled a blast at Hill and his supporters, claiming Hill “hid behind an unethical and vicious write-in campaign.” Hill won by 95 votes.
Police officers found Adams and McClish in a darkened City Hall office on July 3 after the pair had been drinking at several local establishments. Memorandums written by five officers the night of the incident reported McClish was discovered partially dressed, an apparent violation of city policy.
The officers reported that Adams initially lied when asked if McClish was in the building, angrily questioning why police were in City Hall. Several years prior, Adams had insisted on firing a police sergeant for having a relationship with a subordinate employee.
Adams and Mayor Tony Ferrara claimed officers had lied about McClish being partially undressed in an attempt to manipulate salary negotiations. Those assertions were parroted by the daily paper, and one columnist called the situation “a pseudo scandal.”
However, according to a presentation Wednesday by Chuck Hookstra of Ventura’s Sentra Group, police acted in “an entirely appropriate and professional manner” in the aftermath of the affair.
It was the fourth time the council has met in closed session to disuss Adams’ behavior.
Like CalCoastNews on Facebook.