Jan. 10 marked the first City Council meeting of the year for Arroyo Grande, and there was much to discuss, most notably recent sexual harassment lawsuits filed against the Arroyo Grande Police Department and new rules on animal waste and water quality.
The City Council held a closed session to discuss two lawsuits brought by female officers against the police department, Police Chief Annibali, and one of his commanders. There was no action reported.
Annibali did attend the meeting, but only so he could present two detectives with special recognitions for their work in last year’s cross burning incident. The person intended to present the award was unable to do so after being injured in a weekend go-kart incident.
Two officers also received promotions during the meeting; Sgt. Beau Pryor was promoted to commander, and Senior Officer Mike Smiley was promoted to sergeant. Chief Annibali did the honors of presenting them with their badges and stripes, as well as a thick packet of written expectations for each officer’s new position.
The City Council also voted unanimously to amend the city’s municipal code governing water quality. Council members approved an ordinance that prohibits feeding animals, including birds, near the Arroyo Grande Creek. The ordinance is intended to be mostly complaint driven, and police won’t be going door to door in search of offenders.
Mayor Tony Ferrara expressed concern about the repercussions of such an ordinance on the infamous Arroyo Grande chicken and rooster population that calls the creek home. It was determined that despite the birds’ VIP status, feeding them near the creek would still be a violation that carried possible citations.