Former Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams will receive a severance package of $71,073 — equal to about four months’ pay plus benefits.
After less than an hour in closed session at its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Arroyo Grande City Council announced that it had settled with Adams regarding his Dec. 29 request for a severance package.
The decision came on the eve of a deadline Adams had set for the council to either agree to pay a severance or face a possible lawsuit.
“We’ve heard comments from the public on various points of view, and we’ve considered them,” Mayor Jim Hill said after the meeting Tuesday. “I think we have considered the totality of the situation, what is right for the city, right for the employees, and right for all of the people involved, and I’m really looking forward to moving forward.”
Adams originally requested six months’ pay plus benefits, estimated at approximately $107,000.
Interim City Manager Bob McFall said the $80,773.38 Adams was paid while on administrative leave (including gross pay and accrued annual leave balance) between Nov. 19 and Jan. 14 was a consideration in the settlement and contributed to why the amount was lessened from six months’ severance pay to four months’ severance.
The decision caps nearly six months of controversy and public backlash over Adams stemming from a July 3 incident in which he was found alone at night in City Hall with a subordinate.
Adams, who spent 14 years as city manager, announced in October that he would resign from the post when a full-time replacement could be found. The next month, the council accepted his resignation and put him on paid administrative leave until McFall was hired.
Adams and his attorney, Roger Frederickson, sent a letter to the city Dec. 29 requesting a severance package as part of his claim that the council prematurely accepted his resignation, essentially firing him. In a follow-up letter this month, Adams and Frederickson set a deadline of today for the council to reach a decision on the request.
The council announced at a special meeting Thursday that it would pursue an agreement with Adams over the threat of litigation, despite discontent from residents during public comment.
Hill addressed those concerns Tuesday, saying the council “heard and considered the comments made throughout the past months from members of the public, and we appreciate that people of various opinions came and offered their thoughts and concerns.”
Hill said that in the coming months, the city will review some of its employee policies to prevent similar incidents in the future.