Monday, September 1, 2008

Shameful behavior

OMG this is all pretty shameful. A pretty shameful waste of $$$ paid in by BexarMet customers.

The Board should stop paying him as soon as possible.

Forget recovery of previous funds paid you'll never get it and you'll be throwing good money after bad in legal fees and costs.

BexarMet should follow the money — with a vengeance
Ken Rodriguez - Ken Rodriguez

For a guy under indictment and countywide ridicule, Gil Olivares continues to collect a pretty nice check.
Almost $4,000 a week.
The Bexar Metropolitan Water District board calls it “paid suspension.” Ratepayers call it “paid vacation.”

Where else can a general manager mismanage the company, get hit with wiretapping and sexual harassment charges, become the target of multiple lawsuits and still rake in $195,000 a year?
At BexarMet, Olivares gets all that and more. The water board must honor terms of his contract, you know. And besides, isn't everyone entitled to due process?

Before he can be fired, Olivares can request a hearing, which apparently he will do.
If Olivares can't persuade board members to keep him, the paid vacation ends Sept. 11.
If Olivares gets ousted as many hope, the board should take another action.
It should demand Olivares return his salary with interest. Lots of it.
Olivares cannot possibly repay BexarMet for the damage he's caused. But returning more than a quarter of a million dollars would be a just start.
Any ratepayer objections out there? That's what I thought.

After the broken, debt-ridden utility was placed under a state legislative oversight committee, Olivares asked for a contract extension and a raise.
After a grand jury returned a five-count indictment against him, Olivares professed his innocence and asked the board to buy out his contract.
In the face of criminal charges and a legislative rebuke, he revealed his heart:
Show me the money.
Now the money sword is pointed at his own throat.

Gilbert Garza, BexarMet's former purchasing manager, holds one blade.
After the District Attorney's Office played tape recordings of him speaking with his wife and children, Garza lapsed into shock. Then he sued Olivares and Adolfo Ruiz, the utility's legal counsel, for allegedly tapping his phone. Garza wants $10,000 for each recorded call, plus punitive damages.

Humberto Ramos, BexarMet's assistant director for water resources, holds another blade. He's suing Olivares and Ruiz for alleged phone taps. He, too, wants $10,000 per call, plus punitive damages.

The Ramos suit says conversations were taped between May 2007 and February 2008. Some suspect there could be hundreds of calls. Others say thousands.
Secret recordings. Distrust of subordinates. A criminal investigation. Board member Jose Gallegos offers two words for the evolving scandal: Muddy Watergate.
To complete the metaphor, all Olivares needs to say is, “I am not a crook.”

A grand jury says otherwise. Olivares faces a charge that he gave one employee a $20,000 raise after she entered a sexual relationship with him.

Ratepayers would like that back, along with the $31,000 raise Olivares received in December.
Then there's the tangled litany of “professional fees” that BexarMet began paying consultants after Olivares ran off staff engineers. Records show the utility has paid out millions.
Did I mention previous lawsuits that were settled for seven figures? Gallegos estimates Olivares has cost the utility $10 million in mismanagement, and no telling how much in public relations damage.

There's no way to get all that back. But maybe after his hearing, BexarMet could stick Olivares under a giant spigot and flush his pockets dry.