Arroyo Grande top staffer let go, SLO creates a position

November 27, 2019

Teresa McClish


Arroyo Grande’s Community Services Director Teresa McClish was the first of three top staffers to leave the city this month. All three have taken lower level positions with other public agencies. [Cal Coast Times]

On Nov. 1, city administrators removed McClish from a position she had held for more than a decade, which included a $154,380 yearly salary. Even though McClish did not choose to leave the city, according to Arroyo Grande City Manager Jim Bergman, McClish left the city on good terms.

“Ultimately, as the city manager, I am seeking a community development director with a different skill set and experiences to lead the department team,” Bergman said. “I am currently in the process of completing a recruitment to fill the vacancy.”

As for McClish, she is scheduled to start work on Dec. 2 for San Luis Obispo City’s Community Development Department. McClish will work directly under Director Michael Codron, as special programs manager, a newly created job. The position, with a $57,300 salary, was opened online for about an hour, long enough for McClish to be the only applicant.

Administrative Services Director Shannon Esenwein, who oversaw both the city’s finance and human resources departments, resigned on Nov. 15, after less than a year with the city. No one is currently filling the position.

“I am in the process of placing an interim director as we undergo a recruitment effort,” Bergman said.

Last week, Esenwein went to work as a deputy director for Stanislaus County’s Parks and Recreation Department, for a large reduction in pay.

City attorney Heather Whitham also left the city, and the law firm of Carmel & Naccasha, on her own accord on Nov. 15. On Monday, she began working for Santa Maria, as an assistant city attorney.

On Tuesday, Tim Carmel took over the position of Arroyo Grande city attorney.


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Government costs too much and does too little these days.

Why was there an AG city “succession plan” when Carmel was replaced by Heather Whitham, but not one when he took the gig back last Tuesday?

I realize they are/were all of the same firm, doing the same musical chairs dance, but why the need for a formal (which you KNOW the city taxpayers paid for) document back in 2015 but only his surreptitious slide back into the chair recently? Is it just temporary because of Heather’s departure from the firm? Did she not give notice? If she did, then he (or she?) should have made the city aware of it, correct?

This is from the Nov 12, 2019 city agenda minutes:

5.a. Closed Session Announcements.

Special City Council Meeting of November 12, 2019:

a) Public Employee Performance Evaluation pursuant to Government Code Section 54957:

Title: City Attorney

City Attorney Whitham announced that the City Council met in closed session at 5:00 p.m. to discuss the above item[s], and stated that no reportable action was taken on … item.

The most recent meeting had a closed meeting session, with, yet again “nothing to report”, except it came out of Carmel’s mouth this time, after Caren Ray referred to THAT closed meeting as “closure”, with a grimace.

Where is the transparency?

Guess who is the current Cambria district legal counsel . . .

Just one guess though . . .

If you chose “Tim Carmel” ?


AG city attorney, San Miguelito Water District atty, Cambria CSD atty, Cayucos San District atty, partner at CARNAC law firm . . . what else?

That guy is spread thinner than a chicken bone during the great depression, and backing up the Brinks truck everywhere he plants his ass.

Suspect hiring practices endorsed by monica irons. Not the first time for this. Maybe city manager Johnson can pay attention to his sketchy dept. heads as that is solely his responsibility.

McClish should have been gone 3-4 years ago, but wasn’t it Carmel’s guidance, or lack of, that screwed up the Adam/McClish issue originally, plus all his Ferrara shenanigans, but given who our mayor is it’s understandable why he is back.