Morro Bay council set to consider severance deal for city manager

The Morro Bay City Council will hold a closed session Tuesday to review its separation agreement with City Manager Andrea Lueker and possibly end her employment.

A majority of the council, led by Mayor Jamie Irons, has been pushing to oust Lueker and former City Attorney Robert Schultz since September, for reasons it has never made clear. Schultz’s last day with the city was Nov. 15.

The council could make a final decision about Lueker’s employment on Tuesday. An item on the meeting agenda also allows for the council to consider her replacement.

“The council will review the terms of the separation agreement; if acceptable, the council will take action to approve it. If we don’t find it agreeable, then we will send it back for further negotiation,” Irons said Friday.

On Nov. 12 the council voted to have special counsel Steven Simas begin negotiating with Lueker to terminate her contract. At that same meeting, the council approved a severance package for Schultz.

Under the terms of Schultz’s severance agreement his departure was handled as a resignation with a final pay-out of $163,235. The amount followed a formula set out in his employment contract that stipulated nine months of salary, all accrued vacation and holiday pay, and a limited amount of sick pay.

Lueker’s annual salary is $152,244. Her contract also stipulates that she would receive nine months of severance pay if she was let go without cause.

Lueker began her career at the city as a lifeguard in 1986. She was promoted to director of the Parks and Recreation Department in 1993, assistant city manager in 2005 and interim city manager in 2007 when former city manager Bob Hendrix abruptly resigned. The City Council gave her the job on a permanent basis in July 2008.

As the City Council moves ahead with determining Lueker’s employment, the city also is seeking a permanent replacement for Schultz. Interim City Attorney Anne Russell has been hired part-time in the meantime.