Morro Bay will pay $163,235 for city attorney to leave

UPDATE: The following is a statement from Robert Schultz:

Following 16 years of service, I have resigned as City Attorney for the City of Morro Bay pursuant to a separation agreement effective November 15, 2013.

It has been a privilege and an honor to have served the City of Morro Bay these past 16 years. I believe public service is the highest and most noble calling, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Morro Bay community. Serving as City Attorney for Morro Bay has allowed me to be part of many historic achievements for the City.

As I reflect on the past 16 years, I am grateful for having earned the respect and appreciation of my colleagues and community. I am confident my record and many contributions to the City of Morro Bay will be the prevailing memory of my many years of service.

As I say goodbye I wish to thank the staff of the City of Morro Bay; it has been an incredible experience to work side-by-side with you for so many years. You are great public servants, doing an often thankless job, serving with dignity and professionalism. I am fortunate to have worked with such an outstanding group of individuals. I will miss you all.

Thank you,

Rob Schultz

Original story: The city of Morro Bay will pay out $163,235 to Robert Schultz, minus taxes, by next week to finalize his departure Friday as city attorney.

The city will also reimburse Schultz for six months for the unspecified cost to continue his health insurance coverage, according to a separation and release agreement the city made public late Wednesday.

Schultz signed the document on Monday, and Mayor Jamie Irons added his signature on Wednesday, sealing an agreement that was unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday afternoon.

The agreement says Schultz’s separation was treated as a resignation — although Irons had been pushing to oust Schultz since September for reasons the mayor has never made clear.

Schultz could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening.

The separation agreement with Schultz follows a financial formula that was set out in a 2002 employment agreement. Schultz will receive nine months of pay — $115,956 — plus a limited amount of sick day pay and all accrued vacation and holiday pay, at an hourly rate of $72.88.

That amounts to $4,081 for 56 hours of holiday pay; $4,500 for unused sick leave; and $38,698 for 531 hours of vacation.

The total of $163,235 must be paid within two business days of his last day of work on Friday.

According to the agreement, Schultz agrees not to file any claim or lawsuit related to his employment or departure.

Schultz has worked at the city since 1997 and apparently enjoyed the confidence of the city councils he’s served over the years. That changed for no clear reason with a new majority on the council this year, composed of Irons, Christine Johnson and Noah Smukler.

When the three first moved to discipline or fire Schultz in September, along with city manager Andrea Lueker, dozens of residents crowded into a council meeting to praise the longtime employees. A recall effort was soon launched against Irons, which continues.

In recent weeks, Schultz’s supporters have been fewer in number and less vocal at council meetings. On Tuesday, Irons, Smukler and Johnson also voted to start negotiations to remove Lueker, who began her career at the city as a lifeguard in 1987.