Despite receiving scathing criticism and strongly worded accusations of a “cover-up” from locals, the Arroyo Grande City Council declined during their Sept. 9 meeting to further investigate a July 3 “incident” involving City Manager Steve Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish.
To recap, Adams and McClish were discovered by Arroyo Grande police officers at City Hall late at night on July 3. Although the Cal Coast News website alleged that the two were having a “tryst,” Adams denied that there was any inappropriate sexual conduct or violations of city policy.
Deputy City Attorney Michael McMahon conducted an investigation into the incident on July 6 and 7. Subsequently, the council called for a special meeting on July 8, and—after a 90-minute closed session discussion with Adams—the meeting adjourned with no reportable action.
A similar pattern played out on Sept. 9, with the council adjourning to closed session for a performance review of Adams and one other matter. After roughly two hours of discussion, City Attorney Timothy J. Carmel stated there was no reportable action from the session and, thus, no further investigation would be forthcoming.
At the outset of the Sept. 9 meeting, 18 speakers came to the podium during the initial round of public comment. Ten were critical of how the city has handled the “incident,” four argued that no further investigation was needed, and four spoke on other matters.
“I feel this is a big cover-up,” said Arroyo Grande resident Vanessa Andrews. “I would like to see somebody do the right thing for once.”
On the other side, local resident Rod Hatch claimed he “hasn’t found one person yet who thinks there should be a further investigation.” He added that Adams and McClish were “fine people” and that any additional investigation would be “a waste of time and money.”
Right before adjourning to closed session, Mayor Tony Ferrara said that “there’s a lot [the council] would have loved to have said” publicly throughout the investigation process, but—because their discussions with Adams are a “personnel matter”—the council has had to remain silent.
On the morning of Sept. 10, Adams issued a statement to New Times in response to a request for comment.
“There is so much misinformation circulating at this point, I don’t believe it’s productive to add anything to the statements I’ve already made about the incident,” Adams wrote. “I regret that the matter has created a distraction from the business of the city.
“I look forward to being able to concentrate on the important issues we face and focusing my undivided attention on serving the city and the community as effectively as possible,” he added.