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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Such a joke. Didn’t he “resign” a month ago. Accept his resignation and don’t pay him.


“Paid Leave”? Now he gets paid to do nothing! Why not just fired? It’s ridiculous to pay this fool! When you screw up your cushy job, you should not be rewarded, just old fashioned FIRED!!! It was reported on KSBY (now actually reporting on this) that councilman Tim Brown and council members had previous knowledge of an ongoing affair between Adams and McClish. Brown stated that there had been earlier complaints from Staff, of the affair, and it was handled “IN HOUSE”. Proof that Tony’s cover up goes way back. Why was this fact left out of the report? Because the report was a sham! $26.000 for an investigation that said zero. Brown stated he was “waiting” to see where this went before speaking out. Brown should change his name to brown nose. It is clear he was hedging his bet on the outcome of the scandal before taking a stance. If the election had gone in Tony’s favor, you can guarantee Brown would have been supporting Tony.


Was it me or did others notice how disjointed and nervous the investigators were in presenting their findings?

During questioning Hookstra didn’t even remember how many specific individuals were interviewed and he went on about some being reinterviewed, thus bringing the total to 34.

This investigation report is outrageous, particularly when coupled with Councilman Brown’s revelation confirming a prior “incident” between Adams and McClish and Ferrara attempts to cover it up.

So perhaps this is why the investigators were so nervous. They got warned that Brown was going to yank back the curtain and expose the great Wizard of Oz, which would also serve to debunk their 7 page report which according to Guthrie is going to cost around $17,000 .

In any event, the citizens of AG should balk at paying for such a shoddy investigation which in itself, appears to have perpetuated the cover up until Brown took a courageous path of transparency.

Based on what I heard I think the next council should terminate the contract with the City Attorney Carmel. He has bungled things and may very well be worthy of sanctions by the State Bar Association.


Tim Carmel has become so involved with the day to day business of the City, that he no longer can look from the outside and provide good counsel.

He has become a player.

He is the last leg of the trinity that must fall down.


When is the city going to deal with McClish? She’s just as guilty as her boyfriend. AG needs to clean house and soon so they can get back to taking care of the city.


They could look to Andrea Lueker as an interim City Manager until they get settled. She did a great job running the city of Morons under several fractious city councils.


Good point racket …….and while they are at it they could consider Rob Shultz as City Attorney as I always thought Lueker and Shultz were pretty solid people.


Sorry Schultz was part of the previous good old boys club, what we need to someone without that baggage.


You’re probably right. These lightning rod positions need to be filled with either Know-Nothings or with People With Baggage.

Somehow, you can’t bee in these types of positions very long without skeletons accumulating in your closet.

mb business owner

Lueker would be a good choice for either interim or permanent, however, she is unlikely to apply. Someone told me the other day that she is doing a great job with the fishing non-profit she works for, is teaching at cal poly and has turned down several other city manager jobs, but give it a try!


QUOTING ARTICLE: “ Memorandums written by five officers the night of the incident reported McClish was discovered partially dressed, an apparent violation of city policy.

The two d-bag Sintra “investigators” (aka “coverup specialists”) failed to mention this little detail.

And to think, Ferrara blamed the police officers for the entire event, stating it was them trying to get even for contract negotiations.


They did mention it, saying it was a personal issue, I think when it happens at city hall it stops being a personal issue.


“Those assertions were parroted by the daily paper, …”

Now, that wouldn’t have been the renowned San Luis Obispo Tribune, would it?

Mike Byrd

I think yesterday’s Trib editorial set exactly the right tone for this point in time. They get bashed a lot and they may have taken an awkward stance with their first editorial on the subject, but when they get it right they should be acknowledged.


If the Trib is planning on maintaining even a shred of credibility around in this county, they had to finally get it right. Acknowledge THAT!


$15,000 to $17,000 and these professional investigator could not find just one employee at either two local businesses that were working the evening of July 3rd?? Come on just how through is this investigation? They didn’t bother to check time cards?? Or was there another reason? Just one glass of wine, didn’t bother to check receipts huh??


We need to get full refunds from BOTH investigations, unless they want to be dragged into the coverup, too.


That is another reason this is a farce; this investigation did not do what it was charged with doing. Sintra Group is a joke. Who is going to hire them after this report?


City of Runamuk


I wonder what CalCoastFraud will have to say about this? He is another incompetent d-bag.