Two San Luis Obispo County residents have submitted a complaint to the San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury asking it to investigate a July 3 incident involving two Arroyo Grande employees “and the subsequent coverup by city officials and staff.”
Otis Page, a longtime Arroyo Grande resident, and Julie Tacker of Los Osos submitted a complaint Monday against the Arroyo Grande City Council for its “unwillingness to conduct an independent investigation into all aspects of the incident and subsequent attempts to cover it up.”
About 11:30 p.m. on July 3, Arroyo Grande police officers found City Manager Steve Adams and Community Development Director Teresa McClish inside Adams’ office after McClish’s husband had called police, worried because she hadn’t returned home.
In separate statements written after the incident, officers later described them as looking disheveled. Adams appeared unkempt, with his shirt partially untucked and his hair uncombed, and appeared agitated when speaking to the officers.
A few of the officers who saw McClish described her as holding a shirt or article of clothing. Both also appeared sleepy.
However, none of the officers' statements reported seeing Adams or McClish in an intimate situation, nor did they report that McClish was unclothed behind whatever article of clothing she was holding.
Adams and McClish told the deputy city attorney that they had a few drinks at two restaurants in the Village and were talking in Adams' office to ensure they were safe to drive home.
The deputy attorney, Michael McMahon, interviewed the five officers who responded, as well as Adams and McClish, and determined that no city personnel regulations, contracts or laws had been violated.
At its Aug. 26 meeting, the Arroyo Grande council decided to schedule a special meeting to consider hiring an independent investigator to look into the matter.
Some residents left with the impression that the council would hold at least part of the discussion in open session.
But the earliest the council could meet was Sept. 9; the discussion took place in closed session, and council members decided not to pursue another investigation.
Disclosure of the council’s action was not required under the Government Code, but City Attorney Tim Carmel said council members asked him to include it in his report in open session.
The council’s actions have infuriated some residents, who have criticized the city’s handling of the incident as inadequate.
According to Tacker and Page’s complaint, by not holding an open-session discussion, Mayor Tony Ferrara and the council misled the citizens of Arroyo Grande.
The complaint reads: “The history and background of this event, as stated here, is merely ‘the tip of the iceberg’ on a story that requires honest examination and scrutiny stripped of all the ‘cover’ that has masked and hidden this from the citizens.”