Ken Rodriguez - Ken Rodriguez
Almost $4,000 a week.
The Bexar Metropolitan Water District board calls it “paid suspension.” Ratepayers call it “paid vacation.”
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?
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.