Arroyo Grande’s rehire of interim city manager in question
August 15, 2016
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.