H-MORRO BAY

Sep 26, 2013 2:05 AM by Victoria Johnson

Controversy continues in Morro Bay

In Morro Bay, the controversy continues Wednesday night over the future of the city manager and city attorney. After two weeks, the reason behind the possible firing of City Manager, Andrea Leuker and City Attorney Rob Schultz is still unclear.

The mayor, the city manager and a city council member said they can't say why the two are considered being fired either because they don't feel comfortable speaking about it or they worry it would be a legal issue if they did talk.

Tuesday night, hundreds of Morro Bay residents showed up to confront city council members again to express their frustration about the future of City Manager, Andrea Leuker and City Attorney Rob Schultz and why their possible firing isn't being discussed openly.

There are two larger issues going head to head. There are laws which protect the city and employees from having to discuss personnel issues publically. Other laws allow the public to know how their money is being spent.

It is complicated enough; the city council decided Tuesday night to spend up to $12,500 dollars on outside legal counsel help to decide how to proceed.

The stakes are high not only for Leuker and Schultz but potentially for sitting Mayor Jamie Irons. He campaigned partially on the idea of transparency, but Former City Council Member Bill Peirce says that's not what is happening and he is leading a recall effort. Petitions to start the process were delivered to the council Tuesday night.

"Nobody knows. He hasn't said. I'm sure his close associates and council members know. But, they have discussed that apparently in close session. Because they have not made it public in any form and they have not told the two employees or given them any reason," said Peirce.

Peirce is not the only critic of current Mayor Jamie Irons. Former Mayor Bill Yates says the personnel issues are just part of the problem with Irons, and the community controversy didn't need to happen. He calls Irons incompetent.

"The whole thing could have been handled so much better. Which is why I come to my conclusion that I think this mayor is incompetent for handling things the way they handle them. It's just dumb," says Yates.

In his defense, Irons says he's playing by the rules.

"Philosophically, Bill and I differ on the process," said Irons.

He still wants more time to look at the recall petition with a lawyer.

Depending on how the personnel issue is resolved, it could cost more than $300,000 and may force Morro Bay to dip into its emergency fund.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for October 8, 2013.

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