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Arroyo Grande City Council fires city manager

Arroyo Grande fires City Manager Dianne Thompson

City Attorney Heather Whitham announces the Arroyo Grande City Council's decision on June 28, 2016, to terminate City Manager Dianne Thompson, who was hired in August 2015.
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City Attorney Heather Whitham announces the Arroyo Grande City Council's decision on June 28, 2016, to terminate City Manager Dianne Thompson, who was hired in August 2015.

The Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously to dismiss City Manager Dianne Thompson during a closed session meeting on Tuesday night.

The decision comes a week after the same council voted to put Thompson on paid administrative leave for unknown reasons. On Thursday, Mayor Jim Hill told The Tribune there was no single incident that prompted the decision, but there were "differences in style."

After Tuesday's meeting, Hill declined to share further details of Thompson's termination, saying it was a personnel issue.

He did say the city would begin the process of looking for a new city manager, though the council does not have a specific timeline for when that would talk place.

"The City Council and the city staff are committed to continuing the city services as we always have," Hill said. "City business will carry on."

Public Works Director Geoff English will serve as acting city manager in the interim.

Thompson began her duties as city manager in August 2015 when she replaced Steve Adams, who left the city in 2014 amid controversy over an incident in which he was found alone at night in City Hall with a subordinate. An independent investigation concluded there was no misconduct, but public backlash prompted Adams to later announce his resignation.

Thompson was paid $229,600 a year, including salary and benefits. Her base salary was $179,000.

Per her employment agreement, Thompson could be entitled to a severance package worth about $114,800, or six months of her annual compensation.

Thompson replaced interim City Manager Bob McFall in August 2015 and at the time, told The Tribune she hoped to move Arroyo Grabde beyond the controversy surrounding Adams’ departure.

“I think that what is important to the citizens is that their management is responsive to them, and that we are transparent in how we conduct business,” Thompson said. “From my observation of the staff, they provide excellent customer service. They are very professional — we have really good staff. And we have a really good council. They work well together. So I’m very optimistic about the future.”

Thompson worked as the interim city manager for the town of Ross in Marin County immediately before taking the Arroyo Grande job. Before that she worked as city manager for Cotati in Sonoma County and as an architect for the city of Santa Rosa.

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