Mayor Tony Ferrara resigns before term ends

November 26, 2014
Mayor Tony Ferrara

Tony Ferrara


In an unusual move, Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara announced at Tuesday’s council meeting he intends to resign Friday at 5 p.m., three days before his term ends.

The early resignation means that Mayor Pro Tem Jim Guthrie will serve through the weekend and pass the gavel to mayor-elect Jim Hill at a ceremony Monday. After 16 years on the council, Ferrara lost his seat to Hill, a write-in candidate.

City residents allege Ferrara is responsible for a decade of abuse of power and the more recent cover-up of an alleged sex scandal involving former City Manager Steve Adams and a subordinate.

In the aftermath of the July 3 City Hall incident, Ferrara and Councilman Joe Costello lost their jobs, and Adams has been placed on paid administrative until the council selects a new city manager.

Until then, Debbie Malicoat, the city’s administrative services director, will serve as interim city manager.

Twelve members of Adams’ family were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting. Steve Adams’ wife Rose spoke during public comment, relating how much the city and city staff meant to her family.

“He considers them his family too,” she said. “We are going to miss our friends and coworkers. We are going to miss our home.”

In addition, several speakers questioned why city staff had not put two engineering consulting contracts out to engineering firms for requests for qualifications before contracts with the Wallace Group and Water Systems Consulting were to expire. In response, city staff said  a recently-hired city engineer planned to begin the process shortly.

The council then agreed to a compromise — shortening the proposed extension from six months to three months to allow time to properly finish the engineering consultant process.

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Mike Byrd

Nobody likes to lose an election. Trust me, I know. But it is a basic matter of character and decency to lose with grace and dignity and maybe a bit of good humor. The comments he had for our new mayor – elect and his refusal to serve out the remaining three days of his term show him to be petty and petulant at best. It’s very disappointing if not surprising.

And what does he seek to gain by delaying his departure by three days? If he’s going to cut and run why wasn’t his resignation effective when he announced it instead of dragging it out until Friday night?

I suppose at this point it doesn’t matter any longer. He’s gone so let’s move on to discussing current events. He’s history.



Thanks for your comments regarding moving on.

I believe that even though the Mayor showed a lack of class. both he and Steve have done

much for the city. Jim Hill showed class by thanking them for thier service.

its time to get back to governing the city.


Let’s multi task.

Let’s govern, AND clean at the same time.

Mike Byrd

Aaadadyo, I agree completely. I’m a little sad to see Steve go. He got caught up in something that should not detract from the many contributions he made to our city government and to the community as a whole.

As for Tony, he started off as a good man and involved himself in many good projects. Unfortunately, he was weak of character and let the perception of power corrupt him. That is an all too common ailment of good people who let longterm political office go to their heads. It takes a stronger character for a politician to remain the person they were when first elected and Tony just wasn’t one of the strong ones.

There are some definite downsides to term limits but I’ve reluctantly come to the belief that they are necessary both to protect our governmental institutions but also to protect good people from decline.


There is a side to Steve you and others have obviously not seen, Mike.

Sure he’s cool as a cucumber in public,

but challenge him in private and he’s a different animal.

Question his blatant preferential treatment for some,

or call him out on something, and see how he goes off.

He’s not the “good guy” so many believe him to be

when you catch him being less than truthful.

IMO he’s a sneaky son of a gun.

My opinion is based on my experiences with him,

not the incident or his subsequent behavior.


Oh, and IMO his tea party story was the final straw.

THAT was a bold faced LIE, on camera to boot.

He obviously thinks he’s smarter than everyone else

to believe we’d actually fall for that.

The fact that he was so comfortable telling that lie

speaks to his true character.


The entire situation that Adams and Ferrara have found themselves in IS OF THEIR OWN MAKING.

Ferrara’s tragic flaw is his loyalty to his co conspirators ( ‘Ole Joe, Ed Arnold and now Adams)

it’s as Mr. Page stated: Tony threw away his political capital to support Adams. WHY?

Will we, the DA or the Grand Jury, or CCN ever unwrap the misdeeds?

And Adams tragic flaw?

It could be argued his zipper, the glass of wine at Rooster Creek, or the green tea.

It all is sad really. The inability of a group of decision makers who cannot for the life of them make a decision and it is the demise of the entire lot.

Can Brown and Guthrie be set free and do the right thing? I hope so.

Good luck Mr. Hill and Ms. Harmon.


QUOTING MIKE BYRD: “…why wasn’t his resignation effective when he announced it instead of dragging it out until Friday night?”


Good question. Maybe he wants to have a couple more nights of getting free drinks and lording it over the unwashed masses at Rooster Creek.


He likely has called Mr. English to have some public works employees scheduled to come over and cook his Thanksgiving dinner and then clean up afterwards, of course he will pay $169 back to the city.


We cannot just “move on” when we will still have Ferrara’s lackies, Guthrie and Brown, on the city council.

If we don’t hold them accountable now, we will be laying down for them to do the same thing they’ve been doing all along…following Ferrara’s manipulations and harming the residents of AG.


Mary, have you taken a non stance on KB

Or are you assuming she will resign when all of AG finds out she called the AGPD 10 times a day to complain about a little yellow handmade sign?


Totally agree with many others – this is truly the chicken s— way out.

You would have thought that Mr. Ferrara (who has stated many times how much he loves

Arroyo Grande) would have the gonads to handle his loss a little more professionally and

with a little more class than this, but this action just confirms his real, true colors and how

he handles things that don’t go quite his way. Sore loser doesn’t begin to be descriptive


So soon, his fiefdom will be history and life in AR can slowly return to normal.

The next best thing that can, and should, come from this is that the voters in other cities

in SLO county should realize that the power of the ballot box is in their hands and can be

used to remove other elected officials that have shown disregard for the citizens by their

actions and words. Names such as:

Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson – Board of Supervisors,

Jan Marx – mayor of SLO,

Wade McKinney – Atascadero City Mgr.

Tom O’Malley – Atascadero mayor

Jim App- Paso City Mgr.

Fred Strong and John Hamon – Paso CC

and there are probably others.

A valuable lesson from the voters in AR should be learned by all – we, the voters, will

take so much – and then take action.

Power to the voters!


How can you leave off this list the Morro Bay threesome of King Irons, Johnson, and Smukler. Irons was quoted earlier this year praising Tony and Bruce.


Paavo Ogren highest paid Community Services District Director in county.

$ 195,000 + Full Benefits + Full Retirement Contribution From Ratepayers= over $ 250,000 !

Only have six employees !

District is Bankrupt after Five Years of Wasted Rate Increases !

Oceano Community Services District


If he is on paid administrative leave, he cannot perform his job duties.

At any rate, after our new mayor, Jim Hill, is sworn into office, Hill can put an end to the administrative leave.


Is Ferrara going to resign from the presidency of the League of California Cities and the board of the Sanitation facility too?

Kevin Rice

He just did.


“Steve Adams’ wife Rose spoke… relating how much the city and city staff meant to her family…”

I think we already know how Steve Adams feels about one particular member of the city staff–Teresa McClish…ick. (Where is she in all of this, BTW?)

In light of how her husband and his subordinate have publically embarrassed her (and Teresa’s husband), it’s awkward and embarrassing for Mrs.Adams to make such public statements on behalf of her disgraced and unfaithful husband.


QUOTING THE ARTICLE: ““He considers them his family too,” she said.”


Perhaps that was not the wisest thing to say, considering the fact that Adams has been involved in an affair with a member of “his family” at work…Trish McClish. Incest is not considered to be a “family values” deal.

That must have been awkward….and wasn’t Trish McClish at that meeting? Talk about awkward….


We must’ve read that passage at the same time, Mary.

It was one of the more troubling aspects of this article for me.

How Rose Adams is standing by, being a doormat, is beyond me.


Last night would have been the perfect opportunity for Ferrara

to have changed course a bit, and sincerely congratulated both Harmon AND Hill,

and wished the new council well.

Many in the audience were hoping he would be somewhat gracious,

but true to form, Tony chose to be his big bully-self once again.

He had his pathetic pity-party-for-one, choosing yet again,

to be about as ungracious and every bit a sore loser as is humanly possible,

while warning everyone that he WILL continue to keep his fingers in his favorite pies,

AND leave the new council with all of HIS suggestions,

and recommendations as to how HE thinks things like the Brisco underpass

SHOULD be handled.

Apparently Ferrara hasn’t yet fully grasped the fact

that the majority of voters rejected him.

Don’t be surprised if Ferrara works harder to undermine Hill

than he’s ever worked in his life.


“I’m melting… I’m melting…”

It is time to leave Big Tony.

And take your wicked ways with you!




Taking some words straight from Mr. Ferrara, “”Mr. Hill did not have the courage to face me “, now who does have the courage to face whom???, can you say hypocrite.


darn it again, should have been “doesn’t”, not “does”


When some folks loathe something about themselves they project it onto others.


that is what’s called political participation s

ince about 1980