It appears Arroyo Grande city manager’s days are numbered

June 21, 2016
Arroyo Grande City Manager Dianne Thompson

Arroyo Grande City Manager Dianne Thompson

The Arroyo Grande City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to immediately place its controversial General Manager Dianne Thompson on paid administrative leave.

In Aug. 2015, Thompson began working as city manager for an annual compensation of approximately $229,000, including salary and benefits. During the past 10 months, members of the public and the council have questioned Thompson’s performance.

For example, Thompson’s contract called for her to set a meeting to discuss her goals and priorities for the city within 45 days of employment. Thompson, however, never set the meeting. Thompson also failed to set performance reviews as required by her contract.

Upon her hire, Thompson touted the importance of transparency. However, under her leadership city phones often went unanswered and Thompson refused to return phone calls to many members of the press and public.

In closed session, the council voted to have Director of Public Works Geoff English serve as city manager for one week.

On June 29, the city council is slated to further discuss Thompson”s employment.

After 14 years as city manager, in Nov. 2014, the Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously to place Steve Adams on paid administrative leave after reviewing an investigation into an alleged sex scandal. The council then voted to terminate Adams and search for a new city manager.

 


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Rich in MB
Perspicacious

Where do they find these people? Is there a competent “manager” ANYWHERE in this county?


The most ridiculously overpaid positions in the public domain are managers…city managers and CSD managers. Why is there even a city manager position? What do we even have city council’s and mayors for? Any dumbass that can use a calculator could do those jobs anyway.


I could do a better job than half these numbnutz and I will do it for 50k and only work half time and still get it all done.


r0y

When one fishes from a cesspool, do not be surprised at the foulness that is ultimately pulled up. Remember, public institutions are incestuous by their very nature.


LeAnn

The Special Meeting was called at 4:00 pm because the Planning Commission Meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm (as per usual).


On a different story—if you have not read it already, you should read the opinion piece written by Mayor Jim Hill regarding his goals and is thoughts on the budget process. We need more people who are not afraid to call out issues and put plans in place to do something about it.


Read the information and if you are interested in learning more about these issues and how you can help make changes, email me at makeschoolwork@gmail.com, attend a local meet and greet, or call/email the Mayor directly.


kayaknut

Then maybe schedule the meeting at 5:15p or 5:30p so that people getting off work at 5p might actually be able to make the meeting, 4pm makes no sense.


kayaknut

Would have been nice for the special meeting to have been at 6pm or around so that regular working people could have attended.


r0y

HAH! You mean allow the tax-cattle to actually attend the masters’ meeting? Sure…


HarryMalone

Kudos to the Arroyo Grande City Council for finally having enough guts to realize their mistake in hiring their current city manager.


But let’s get real in the fact that she never should have been hired in the first place.


I did a simple Google search of Diane Thompson in Cotati and boy oh boy it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see she was bad news.


Which brings me to the head hunter that vetted Ms. Thompson who should be sued for their fee and damages to the City. Like that will happen… as in most of our local governments, they will probably use the same head hunter.


And I am so sick of the argument that we have to pay $229,000 to get the best and the brightest. How did that work out? But again, as in most of our local governments, they will probably spin this to offer an even higher salary, as $229,000 doesn’t get quality people.


How about this Arroyo Grande City Council…..put the City Manager position out for $150,000 (with benefits) and see what happens. Try it for a short period and if no one qualified comes forward then up the ante.


While your at it, make sure the employment contract doesn’t include a lavish going away prize as you have in the past and I’m sure you will with Ms.Thompson (that is if she doesn’t complain again to the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority).


Also make sure your highly paid head hunter knows how to use Google!


Finally… this is proof that it can be done. City of San Luis Obispo City Council are you paying attention?.


obispan

What’s Steve Adams doing? Sure he got fired. But it was because the council could and did if pressured to do so. There is no other city employee that serves at the will of the council, that’s the political part. By most accounts, he was a good guy who done a good job for a long time. Maybe he’s learned his lesson and the city counsel can now learn theirs.


FreeAGCouncil.com

Has anyone called Mr. mcFall yet?

Sure, hope so.


centralcoastscott

I’ve never worked in government so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. But the yearly wage of $229,000 seems ridiculously high to me. I worked as a computer systems engineer my entire career – a career path known to have very high wages. I was “at will” and had no union association. I was part of a successful company and was on a team of high achieving colleagues. But no one earned that kind of money. And we most certainly didn’t have government pensions upon our retirement. There is something wrong here. These government compensation packages seem rather scandalous.


Scott


mkaney

I cannot understand why more people’s heads don’t explode when they see these salary numbers. These people are cashing in at the expense of everyone else. You should see what the police and firefighters are pulling down.


smile4thecamera

The salaries are ridiculous.


Rich in MB

The Government has look out for their own…we sheeple just need to move along….nothing to see here….vote more of the same.


panflash

Well, the article states that “In Aug. 2015, Thompson began working as city manager for an annual compensation of approximately $229,000, including salary and benefits.” So, apparently that $229K figure includes the value of her benefits, thus her actual salary is probably more like $150 or something.


Nevertheless, whatever that salary actually is, it clearly is way too much for what Arroyo Grande got as a manager. If citizens are upset about the compensation for a city manager such as Thompson, then the citizens should REALLY be upset that the Council allocated $26,0000 to hire recruitment firm Peckham and McKenney to find the new city manager.


I mean, really- think of it- if Dianne Thompson was the BEST candidate that Peckham and McKenney could find for AG, then can you imagine what all the rest of the candidates were like?


Remember- AG paid Peckham and McKenney to find the BEST city manager for the job. Wow. Something is really, really wrong with this picture.


r0y

It is as if you are beginning to see that it is, in fact, a “system” and that system is corrupt and manipulated. Do not expect the people who profit from the corruption to ever correct it. At any level.


citygirl

Get involved in your city and realize what is going on, don’t wait until there is a problem like this.Inactive citizens allow these problems to occur and get to this point.


Learn about your council members and come November get out and vote. There are 2 council seats up for grabs and the mayor’s seat too.


let’s see what happens on the 29th does the council feel it is time to move on, or will it be more of the same? She has already been given a written warning basically on her 6-month review, and now she gets a week suspension.


The citizens need to tell their elected officials how they feel, have you had enough of the good ole boys club and you ready to ask for real change?


Otis

REMEMBER THIS COMMENT? NOTE THE DATE!!!


COMMENT 01/13/2016 at 7:28 pm


I’m one of the Cotati citizens that was contacted about Dianne Thompson by citizens of Arroyo Grande. Their gut feelings about Dianne Thompson were right and Cotati is still recovering from the damage she caused.


While it is not official, everyone here knows she was fired. It took six months to get rid of her. When she was finally out of the door, the city council at its next meeting passed unamiously some resolutions on personnel policy about the city manager’s position, nicknamed the “how to fire a city manager faster” resolutions. She went about 30 miles away to Ross in Marin County, but her reputation caught up with her there, and she wasn’t hired as the city manager when she was interim city manager.


She had to move out of the area to get a position. She is smart, but it would have been best for her to “lay low” after what happened up here.


Don’t let her get to your city finances. There is so much crap she did with ours. In 2014, she manufactured a financial emergency that allowed an extra sales tax measure that was sunseting to be extended for 9 years and increased to 1% extra to pass at a special election. The predictions touted by her was that they’d have to sell off city buildings and shudder the police department. There were no sources in the predictions, and now the prediction doesn’t make sense. The city of Cotati now has the highest sales tax rate in Sonoma County.


The sales tax measure was advertised to benefit “essential city services”, such as the police, roads, and recreation. Dianne Thompson, three months after it passed, snuck into the budget book that acceptable uses were capital improvement projects and community development. The city has never had the bookkeeping methods to track the sales tax funds. The measure that was sunsetting (Measure A), was supposed to have annual audits of the monies. In the five years it was in effect, no audits were completed…all when Dianne Thompson was city manager.


There’s more, but I’d be writing to midnight. Our two newspapers know about the corruptness going on in Cotati. They have been provided evidence that what is going on is true. Yet, they write crap supporting the corrupt city council and libel anyone that challenges the city. A few of us have “disappeared” from their Facebook page/stories for the last year, because the paper is worried about libel suits.


You all deserve someone truly that is for the common good of your city. Good luck