Laguna Niguel council to consider removing Jerry Slusiewicz as mayor at Aug. 14 meeting – Orange County Register

LAGUNA NIGUEL The City Council will discuss whether to remove embattled Mayor Jerry Slusiewicz from his position while keeping him in office as councilman at a special meeting Aug. 14.

The announcement for the meeting, called by a majority of the City Council, comes about two weeks after the city made public allegations that Slusiewicz bullied city employees and administrators, demanded a discount on carpet at a Laguna Niguel store because of his city position and threatened the director of a community theater to get his daughter a part in a play.

A staff report for the meeting includes two new allegations: that Slusiewicz threatened the president of a youth soccer club that it would not get city field permits if it did not help his son move from one club to another — even though changes were not allowed mid-season; and that the mayor used a “belligerent and belittling tone toward fellow council members” while showing a “consistent lack of decorum.”

The council voted 4-1 July 24, with Slusiewicz opposed, to direct City Attorney Terry Dixon to hire outside legal counsel and investigators to look into the allegations and procedures to remove the mayor. The allegations against Slusiewicz are being investigated by Dixon and outside counsel, community engagement manager Calina North said Friday, Aug. 4. The investigation could take between four and six months, North said.

Slusiewicz has continued to contend that the moves for his ouster are the result of efforts by the council and city staff to protect former City Manager Rod Foster. Slusiewicz claims Foster is responsible for about $410,000 in over-payments over two years to city contractor West Coast Arborists.

Foster left the city in late July to work as chief of parish operations at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Dana Point. In a June 8 email released by the city, Foster wrote that he left “because of the way Mayor Slusiewicz treats me and others.”

At the Aug. 1 City Council meeting, city staff acknowledged the city had gone over its spending cap with West Coast Arborists. Slusiewicz recommended at the meeting that the arborist contract and related documents be sent to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for investigation, but the council postponed the discussion since Mayor Pro Tem Fred Minagar was in China.

In a written statement sent to the Register Friday, Slusiewicz called for a larger audit of city protocols and spending. A draft audit report concerning city…

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