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Morro Bay council lets planning commissioner keep position

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Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Iron's call to discuss the removal of a "disruptive" planning commissioner fell short on Oct. 23.

City Council members convened for a special meeting and instead voted 3-2 to let Richard Sadowski stay in his commission seat after an outburst he had at the Sept. 26 council meeting caused controversy among the city's officials.

"He brings passion, and passion is good. In my mind, the only infraction that occurred was a momentary lapse of controlled passion," said City Councilmember Matt Makowetski.

Irons opened the special meeting by reading the council's pledge to follow

SAFE Embattled Morro Bay Planning Commissioner Richard Sadowski narrowly kept his position in a 3-2 City Council vote to not oust him. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • SAFE Embattled Morro Bay Planning Commissioner Richard Sadowski narrowly kept his position in a 3-2 City Council vote to not oust him.

 practices of civility and civil discourse during all meetings. He added that Sadowski's behavior at the Sept. 26 meeting failed to maintain that pledge.

In September, Irons cut Sadowski off during a public comment on the city's controversial $150-million wastewater treatment plant, interrupting Sadowski before his allotted three-minute time period was over. Irons asked him to step down, and instead Sadowski continued his comment, which caused the crowd to erupt and the police chief to interject.

Irons clarified that at the beginning of that Sept. 26 meeting, he mentioned that public commenters might have a shorter allotted time than the normal three minutes because there was a large number of speaker slips.

Although Irons said he mistakenly told Sadowski that his three minutes were up, he was merely responding to the two-minute timer that was set and not purposefully cutting him off.

Fifteen public commenters spoke at the Oct. 23 meeting, including Sadowski and his wife, Marla, asking the council to "give Sadowski a break."

Although the council agreed that Sadowski's behavior was unnecessary, council members John Headding, Makowetski, and Marlys McPherson felt that his actions didn't warrant his resignation.

Councilmember Robert Davis said that he wanted to hear how Sadowski would conduct himself in the future, but Sadowski declined to comment.

The council voted to warn Sadowski and ask that he practice civility in the future.

After the meeting, Sadowski told New Times that he was truly touched by how many community members spoke on his behalf. He said he won't change how active and vocal he is within the community because he loves Morro Bay and cares about its citizens.

"I've been doing public speaking for a long time. If you see something wrong, you've got to call it out, and that's what I've been doing for years," he said.


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