Giving just three days’ notice, Phyllis Molnar sent her fellow Grover Beach City Council members a letter on Jan. 28 informing them that she had decided to leave the city and her position “with deep regret," effective Jan. 31.
“In the last few months I have had personal changes that have led to my choosing to change my city of residence,” Molnar wrote.
According to the letter, Molnar shifted her primary residence to a second home in unincorporated San Luis Obispo County. Only city residents can serve on city councils, and the move left the remaining council members with 60 days to either announce a special election or appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of Molnar’s term, which expires in December 2014. Staffers estimated that a special election would cost $28,000 to $30,000.
At their Feb. 4 meeting, council members discussed options, and Mayor Pro Tem Karen Bright slammed Molnar for her seemingly hasty resignation. Bright claimed that Molnar had loan documents for her new home dating back to October, the month before Molnar lost a bid for mayor to Debbie Peterson.
“I find it very disturbing that we have someone who would treat the citizens of Grover Beach in that manner,” Bright said.
New Times couldn’t confirm Bright’s claim, but documents on file with the SLO County Clerk showed Molnar finalizing the sale of her Grover Beach home on Nov. 27 and finalizing the purchase of a 1,200-square-foot home on 1.35 acres south of Arroyo Grande on Nov. 28. She and her husband signed for a $344,925 loan from Wells Fargo on Nov. 21. Bright said that she estimated the escrow process would have taken at least 30 days prior to transferring a deed of trust.
Molnar could not be reached for comment.
To replace her, the City Council ultimately decided to solicit application letters from qualified residents until its Feb. 19 meeting, when the city manager will report on the number of interested citizens. Public interviews are expected to be held on Feb. 25.