Jerry Needham - Express-News
“A buyout is a potential consideration,” said Jim Clement, vice president of the water utility's seven-member board, Monday. “There's always that possibility.”
“He wanted to know if I would consider letting him address the board for a buyout and kind of negotiate with the board on those terms, rather than going through a messy deal in regards to a termination or whatever,” Villarreal said. “I don't know what terms he's looking at, but I told him I would accept his request and have it on the agenda and have it as an option.”
The board suspended Olivares, leader of the agency since April 2005, for 15 days in an emergency meeting Saturday, a day after Olivares was slapped with five indictments for allegedly wiretapping and sexually harassing employees.
“I'm willing to listen to anything and everything that's put out there,” said Clement. “There are some folks that are wanting termination, some folks wanting to give him a buyout.”
“We're talking about a considerable amount of money — for what?” she said.
Olivares' contract, amended and extended for two years last year, has a clause that reads: “BexarMet may terminate Olivares for cause resulting only from conduct which is seriously prejudicial to BexarMet.”
“That should cover it,” Wenger said. “Beyond that, whether he's found guilty or not in a court of law, that's not our concern.”
Board member Jose Gallegos also said he's not inclined to support a buyout.
“At this point, I don't think I'm going to pay him for any buyout at all,” he said. “I think Mr. Olivares has muddied the waters at BexarMet and it's a disservice to the ratepayers and the employees. I'd like to invite Mr. Olivares to do the right thing, to do the honorable thing and to spare the district from any further embarrassment by resigning.”
Olivares' contract calls for him to be paid at the rate of $195,000 a year until Oct. 29, 2008, and to get $200,000 for the final year of his contract from Oct. 30, 2008, to Oct. 29, 2009..
That amounts to about $237,500 plus a maximum of 240 hours of unused vacation time that could bring the amount to well over $250,000, not counting any pension or Social Security payments the board also might have to match.
The indictments allege that he ordered the office phones of several top managers monitored and taped and that he used his authority to try to coerce two female employees into sexual relationships, retaliating against one when she refused and against the other when she ended the relationship.
A newly elected, reform-minded board fired the agency's previous general manager, Tom Moreno, without offering any severance after an audit found a long list of problems.
Moreno, who still had almost five years on his contract, sued the district three years ago, but the case hasn't been resolved.