With a July 9 resolution, the Arroyo Grande City Council recognized psychological injuries suffered on the job by police officer Michelle Cota.
The resolution will allow Cota to retire and collect bi-weekly payments of $1,580 under the state Public Employees’ Retirement System. Her PERS payments will begin July 12.
Cota filed a lawsuit against the Arroyo Grande Police Department, Chief Steve Annibali, and former Cmdr. John Hough in December 2012. The lawsuit alleged several instances of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation by department leaders.
City Manager Steve Adams revealed after the meeting that the disability determination was connected to a settlement agreement. Adams explained the parties wanted to settle alongside Cota’s pending worker’s compensation claim. He didn’t say whether the settlement also includes a promise of direct payments to Cota.
In an official statement, Adams said the settlement isn’t an admission of wrongdoing by department leaders.
“The city has complete confidence in the conduct, judgment, and professionalism demonstrated by Chief Steve Annibali and former Cmdr. John Hough,” Adams said.
The City Council unanimously passed the resolution through adoption of the consent agenda, so no discussion preceded its approval.
Citing policy regarding litigation against the city, Annibali has declined to discuss the details of Cota’s lawsuit and another brought by Officer Kimberly Martin in 2010.
Arroyo Grande settled Martin’s discrimination and harassment lawsuit for $162,500 earlier this year.