Colusa City Manager Jan McClintock was shown the door in August, an economic consultant she brought in was next and the controversy that raged around them probably cost two council members their seats in November.
McClintock's embattled end as the city's top executive leads the list of stories for 2012.
Other than McClintock, perhaps no one was more impacted by the issue than Pat Landreth.
His early support for McClintock and the economic development policy that led to the hiring of Mark Mayuga at nearly $8,000 a month was clearly his political undoing.
"Is it a fact that I voted for Mark Mayuga? Yes it is. Can I get away from it? No I can't," Landreth said during his campaign. "But I came to an understanding that we were doing something wrong."
Landreth, who had been appointed to the council in 2010, ultimately became the deciding vote that led to McClintock's ouster and the end of Mayuga's contract, but it clearly came too late.
Kay Hosmer, a two-term veteran of the council, also was a staunch supporter of McClintock and the economic development policy — and she was right to the end.
However, her last-place finish in the six-candidate race for three seats also reflected a personal dislike for her blunt approach with the other council members and, in some cases, the public.
She still believes the decision to fire McClintock instead of letting her retire in November, as the former city manager proposed, will unnecessarily cost the city tens of thousands of dollars in unemployment and PERS retirement costs.
The last days of her campaign for re-election were an emotionally charged battle with organizers of a "No on Kay Hosmer" campaign.
The police were brought into the matter at least twice, and a formal complaint was filed against Hosmer by a business owner.
But it was McClintock who was in the center of the acrimony.
She had her own detractors who believed her to be personally difficult to work with, a list that included members of the public, the business community, city staff members, other government officials — and most devastatingly — members of her own council.
In the end, though, it was her ties with and unyielding defense of Mayuga that pushed her out the door.
Mayuga's failure was the lack of transparency with regard to the Calmetha — the proposed $800 million methanol plant that held the promise of the city's economic future.
Mayuga repeatedly mimicked his position that it was just a matter of time, that the project was only a feedstock contract away from rolling forward.
That contract never came to fruition, a major international firm — Bechtel — that was supposed to be part of the project denied any involvement, and the search through Siemens and other known collaborators, also reported to be involved, proved to be more of a ghost hunt than anything else.
McClintock left behind her own refrain that she only did what the council directed her to do, and there was enough truth to that to cost Landreth and Hosmer their council jobs.