Arroyo Grande manager on paid administrative leave

November 19, 2014
Council member Tim Brown

Council member Tim Brown


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.

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CCN quote:

“…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.”

It really doesn’t matter when City Attorney Carmel informed Tim Brown about a previous incident with Adams & McClish or that he did…. but are Council Members supposed to be talking in public about confidential employee information outside of a closed session meeting? Isn’t this grounds for a lawsuit by Adams or McClish?

Mike Byrd

Yes, that is a distinct possibility. Though if it were indeed a personnel issue one would think it would have been handled as a personnel matter. It wasn’t so does that remove it from the personnel umbrella? Maybe someone needs to begin a conversation with the city’s insurance carrier about all that has occurred.



You missed one helluva meeting.

The reporter from the LA Times had only planned on staying for a brief time,

but was so completely engaged by it all that she stayed for the entire meeting.

Thank you for making other plans, it helped folks speak more openly.

You should be very proud of Tim Brown, he laid it out tonight.

Do you know how long we have been waiting for that?

So now we know what you knew, but tried to keep from us

and from the rest of the council too, apparently.

Thank you for the good things you did for Arroyo Grande,

but it will be a while before we forgive you

for the mess you made of things by not being honest with us.






If this were not a government employee, there would be NO paid administrative leave, he would have been fired immediately. Why is that? Why do our tax dollars have to pay for a person to sit home and do nothing? He’s the one who made the poor choices, not the citizens of Arroyo Grande. Finally, why is government in the business of reinforcing failure?

Frankly, I’m disappointed with tonight’s outcome. Simply applying a band-aid to stop hemorrhaging doesn’t work.

Rich in MB

Why….because the Noble Lords are better than us dirty rabble…..well at least in their eyes anyway. Next let’s go after the Union Contracts that protect their members from the People!


Finally, someone had the courage to tell us

what many have suspected and others have denied for months.

Adams and McClish did not get caught on their first go ’round.

And Tony didn’t want to share it with the other council members,

Because he and Tim Carmel had already handled a prior complaint “in house”.

My, my, my, so glad Tim Brown had the gumption

to finally speak out, and confirm that the crazies are NOT crazy after all.

The truth will set you free.

Thank you, Mr. Brown


Tim Brown was a hero tonight.

He spoke the truth even if it had consequences.

He threw the holy trinity under the bus.

Carmel, Adams and Ferrara got nailed!

Good for Tim.

He did the right thing by speaking up even if he does not believe in the cover up.

The investigation is over and now the Grand Jury can come in.

Tony and Steve have lied and that was confirmed by what we were not told by the investigation.


I can’t even begin to express the level of disappointment I have for the City officials of Arroyo Grande. I agree with the previous comments. We are rewarding bad behaviour. I have written each City Council member and the City Attorney.

Mr. Adams should have been terminated immediately with no additional compensation. He admitted on several occasions that he went back to City Hall to “sober” up. “Sober” was he admits that he was intoxicated while on work premises.

Let me ask, who has an employer that let’s them come to work intoxicated? OK maybe it wasn’t during work hours, but I am sure that if there was an accident, the City would have been liable.

Now I guess it is acceptable to go to work intoxicated, get reprimanded and placed on “paid” leave? Wow, let me know how I can apply for the City Manager position.

Our town is becoming a laughing stock, as we cannot expect for our officials or staff to act professionally? The police department and fire department act in the highest level of professionalism, while we have a double standard for city officials and management.

Please Jim Hill, led AG back to a town that has integrity and professionalism in all areas of the City.


1.) Clean out Ferrara’s office while he’s on his last junket and put his stuff in public storage (pay for a month of storage of course.) FedEx him the key.

2.) Terminate Adams, McClish and Carmel once and for all.

3.) See if you can hire Andrew Carter away from Guadalupe. He would do a good job at a fair salary I believe.

4.) Begin healing in earnest.


Quite the deal. Fully paid vacation for what….a month, several months?


The Council should accept his resignation immediately, which would preclude his ability to collect unemployment since he resigned.

Unfortunately I believe a series of settlement meetings will take place between Carmel and Adams and we the tax payers will be on the hook to keep Adams from making disparaging remarks about the City, it’s staff, or the Council – in essence, hush money.

Mike Byrd

The way I saw it, first Adams’ resignation was accepted effective immediately. Then he was placed on paid administrative leave effective immediately. Not sure how that works. Who’s in charge at city hall?


The voters!



They are going to hire an interim as soon as the new council is seated.

Hopefully they are going to place Mr. Carmel on notice also.

Carmel has become a player and no longer can give advice. He’s too close in and part of the trio.

Carmel’s explanation of their brown act violation was priceless!


Carmel’s explanation of the Brown Act violations was SCARY!

Rich in MB

Local politicians view the Brown Act as something they need to get around….not follow!

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