Out with the old, in with the new in Arroyo Grande
April 24, 2015
By KAREN VELIE
The Arroyo Grande City Council has hired Dianne Thompson to replace ousted city Manager Steve Adams and plans to replace long-term city attorney Tim Carmel with Heather Whitham. The council is slated to confirm both hires on April 28.
Dianne Thompson has a Master’s in public policy and was the Cotati city manager from 2007 through 2014 when she resigned. She is currently serving as interim city manager for the Town of Ross.
Thompson is expected to start her new position with the city no later than Aug. 1 for an annual compensation of approximately $229,000, including salary and benefits.
After 14 years as the city manager, in November, the Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously to place Adams on paid administrative leave after reviewing an investigation into an alleged sex scandal.
On July 3, 2014, five officers caught Adams and a subordinate employee in a darkened City Hall. Several years earlier, Adams insisted on the termination of a female police officer who had a personal relationship with a lower-ranking member of the force.
Carmel led the investigation into the alleged affair which resulted in a verbal reprimand, even though this was not the first time the Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish had been caught engaging in inappropriate behavior.
After 22 years, Carmel is stepping down as city attorney and has recommended the city hire Whitman, an attorney with his firm Carmel and Naccasha.
Whitman was the deputy city attorney for the City of Torrance for 14 years. For the past four years, she has represented numerous local special district and served as the special attorney to the City of Arroyo Grande.
During the past month, the Arroyo Grande Council has had several closed session meetings to discuss Carmel’s performance in light of his support of Adams and issues with Adams’ claims against the city following his termination.
Since the sex scandal was exposed in an exclusive CalCoastNews article, Mayor Jim Hill ousted 16 year incumbent Tony Ferrara and recently elected Councilmember Barbara Harmon replaced Joe Costello.
Don’t miss links to breaking news stories, like CCN on Facebook.