Arroyo Grande’s rehire of interim city manager in question

August 15, 2016

AG City Council 6

Arroyo Grande City Council’s plans to hire Robert McFall to serve as interim city manager were dismantled shortly after the council voted last week to approve his contract. It is currently unclear whether McFall will go back to work for the City of Arroyo Grande.

In advance of last week’s council meeting, Arroyo Grande officials reached an agreement to hire McFall to temporarily serve for a second time as interim city manager. On Aug. 9, the council voted unanimously to approve the contract that included an hourly pay rate of $125  and a monthly housing allowance of $1,700.

However, before the contract was signed, it was discovered it was not in conformance with CalPERS rules regarding limitations on housing and travel allowances. McFall receives a CalPERS retirement.

The AG City Council is currently working to remedy the compliance issues and rehire McFall, Mayor Jim Hill said.

“McFall did a great job for us and we would like to have him back,” Hill said. “We are trying to work out those issues. I am cautiously optimistic.”

In 2010, McFall retired from the city of Glendale after spending 23 years as assistant city manager. Post-retirement, McFall did some consulting work for Arroyo Grande in which he conducted several departmental assessments.

On Jan. 14, 2015, the AG City Council hired McFall to serve as interim general manager and the next morning he took over the office previously held by ousted leader Steve Adams. McFall worked as Arroyo Grande’s interim executive from Jan. 2015 to Aug. 2015.

Adams resigned in 2014 amid a sex scandal that stemmed from Arroyo Grande police finding him with a partially clothed community development director  late at night in a city hall office. An alleged coverup of the incident also led to the departure of longtime mayor Tony Ferrara, who lost his reelection bid to a write-in campaign run by now Mayor Hill.

Since then, the city has been divided with those who support the police officers, Mayor Hill, Councilman Tim Brown and candidate Leann Akins and those who backed Ferrara and his plans for the city. Battling to bring back the old guard is former council woman Caren Ray, and council members Kristen Barneich and Barbara Harmon.

In Aug. 2015, the council hired Dianne Thompson as city manager. However, amid complaints from the public and staff the Arroyo Grande City Council voted 5-0 in June to fire Thompson.

Arroyo Grande officials had planned for McFall to begin his second stint with the city on Aug. 10. Director of Public Works Geoff English has served as interim city manager since Thompson’s departure.

On Aug. 17, the Arroyo Grande City Council is scheduled to a hold special meeting to discuss an agreement with McFall that will conform with the legal requirements of CalPERS.

“I am hoping we will be able to hire him and move forward,” Hill said.


I’ll take the job for $95 per hour and they won’t have to give me a housing allowance. I’ll save the City $6500 a month.


To anyone who votes in the city of Arroyo Grande,

Arroyo Grande has an opportunity to again make big changes in the local leadership. Some candidates are offering what they always have, while others are offering to pull the curtain back and make decisions which are best for more than a few stakeholders. Pay attention to the differences between the candidates. Watch them, listen to them, and look for their ability to lead (or not lead). Look at who contributes to their campaigns and how much they contribute. While it might seem unlikely, there ARE candidates who cannot be bought or paid for by developers or other special interests.

I have stated before that I am not perfect, but I will not lie, cheat, steal, or hide behind prior leaders and be hopeful the public will forget about my prior decisions. I will not dismiss my obligation to serve and do no harm. I will not act before I have facts that fall outside of what staff provides, and I will not ask the taxpayers to foot the bill for me as an elected public servant (we already have those on the council who do ask that).

Please get involved in the local campaign this fall. Our community needs strong leaders who will listen, think critically, not be easily swayed by special interests, and who are not afraid to make tough decisions. I hope you will consider me one of those individuals.


Le Ann, I admire you willingness to serve in public office if elected, but just remember, a strong leader is much more than a person the promises not to lie, cheat, steal. or hide behind previous leaders. That should be a given.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for city’s success, and then standing back and letting the community shine



I do agree with your post. However, I believe that a solid candidate is one who has the framework and groundedness stemming from ethical acts. Ethics allows a leader to keep the team focused on the right things rather than the wrong things. If we don’t have ethical leaders, a groundwork for success cannot be constructed. Only with ethical leaders can a city and it’s success truly be built.


You Need New Leadership ,For Too Long the Clowns have been Running the City, It’s Pretty clear Things are not better… YOUR going backwards Not Forward people ,Hold your Nose Clean House!


Wait a minute….no mention in the article of how the City Attorney negotiated a contract in violation of the law. How inept can you be. The City probably paid Carmel’s firm $10k to negotiate the illegal contract and now will pay another $10k to redo it.


Not sure why we are still using Carmel’s firm, another example of why they need to go, but I guess with the current 3 block of council members from Ferrara it is not surprising. They are still backwards on the building moratorium. That should have come first, then if the water supply was still an issue, discuss fining current residents if they did not conserve enough, not the way they did it. This fall’s election is critical if we want to get a council that listens to all residents, not just a few or just developers, also likely critical for the selection of our new city manager, hopefully a manager that will realize some old regime employees need to set free. By the way, did the residents get an opportunity to look at the interim city managers contract so they could comment about it before the council discussed it? and will we get to look at the contract before voted on for the new city manager?


Self proclaimed politician and know-it-all Caren Ray is desperate for a win of any kind in any race.

From Supercisor to city council? AG–tell Ray no thanks.

Josey Wales

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I quote the story:

“Battling to bring back the old guard is former council woman Caren Ray, and council members Kristen Barneich and Barbara Harmon.”

Folks, if you have had enough of the leftist politicians acting out their progressive dreams, then let’s work to vote out people like Kristen Barneich, Barbara Harmon and NEVER return Caren Ray to a position of responsibility.

If someone borrowed your car and drove it into the ditch, would you ever hand them the keys again?

Think about it.

Just saying,



What you do not understand Mr outLaw, Is the leadership of Arroyo Grande has been Just flat Stupid, Time after time .. Most of these people , are not good at any thing they have some NUT JOBS behind them pushing the cart… Most Should of been removed long ago ,

and Caren Ray at the the top.. Remember that Wild Hair Running thing …Drinking getting naked Showing Butt. In short Stupid!


I’m happy Someone remembers this Stuff, Here is the way it is Folks,

If you have these Knuckle Heads in Office ….People think In General ,

People who might run for office , Feel they have no chance as the City of Arroyo Grande is Run By idiots, .. There for Only Idiots Live there & vote.. So You cont. to Have leadership That Sucks swamp water..

So most Normal People think there is Little Chance they maybe elected.. No matter their back ground .. By enlarge the members you have in Office Quiet Honestly are Flipping Clowns..Its Shameful .. What Proof do I have Just look at Whats gone on in the last 5 years, its Sinful ..

The Leadership is a Joke.. The beating will Cont. Till the moral improves ..

Thats Real … Clean House!!!