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Arroyo Grande City Council approves $26,000 for its city manager search

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After a lively back-and-forth round of public comment, the Arroyo Grande City Council calmly and unanimously agreed at their Oct. 28 meeting to spend $26,000 on a consultant who will search for a replacement for City Manager Steve Adams.

According to a timeline prepared by Director of Administrative Services Debbie Malicoat, the consultant will be screening city manager candidates as soon as February 2015, and the council will look to appoint a candidate in March, with a start date in March or April.

“It’s an aggressive timeline, but we will do our best to execute it,” said City Councilman Jim Guthrie, who—along with Mayor Tony Ferrara—will be interviewing and selecting the consultant in coming weeks.

Adams—who announced his planned resignation on Oct. 2—will continue to serve as city manager until his replacement takes over.

This entire process was sparked following a July 3 incident in which Adams was found with Community Development Director Teresa McClish late at night in City Hall.

After some members of the community expressed outrage over the July 3 incident and the city’s subsequent handling of the fallout, the City Council also approved a comprehensive independent investigation to be conducted by Ventura-based private investigator Chuck Hookstra on Oct. 8. Hookstra’s investigation is ongoing.

Roughly 70 people attended the Oct. 28 meeting, and 22 of them spoke during general public comment: 10 were critical of the council, nine were complimentary of the council, and three individuals spoke on other matters.

The resolution to approve the $26,000 expenditure passed 4-0, with Councilman Tim Brown absent, and requests for proposals will be heading out to executive search firms imminently, Malicoat said. Adams won’t be involved in the process to appoint his successor, she added.

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