Serving the community since 1970

Ex-finance chief sues city

Fired in October for unknown reasons

Former Wasco Finance Director Robert Ruiz is suing the city for breach of contract over his termination in October.

And as of yet, the reasons for the dismissal are secret.

Tuesday night, city officials were closed-mouthed about the reasons for Ruiz’ termination. “He’s no longer with us,” was how City Clerk Maria Martinez responded when asked for more information, citing that it was a “personnel matter.”

“I can’t discuss it,” another official said.

According to Ruiz’ attorney in letters to City Manager Daniel Ortiz-Hernandez, his employment agreement with the city ran through June 2020, and stipulated that he would receive a severance package of three month’s salary along with three months of medical insurance coverage.

In the correspondence, the attorney, Randy Rumph, said the contract was terminated on or about Oct. 10, 2018. Ruiz came to the city from in June 2017.

Rumph said in the correspondence, the unpaid severance totals $31,250, plus $3,000 in health insurance.

In other business, the council was presented an ordinance providing for sidewalk vending. The draft ordinance was result of a new state law that required cities to allow vendors on sidewalks beginning Jan. 1. Up until then, the city prohibited peddlers, solicitors and hawkers from peddling and/or solicitation on public sidewalks and other areas of the community. A vote on the proposed ordinance is scheduled for Jan. 22.

Another proposed ordinance would amend the city’s ordinance on illegal dumping of solid waste and establishes the need for code enforcement officers to access information about suspected dumpers by identifying any labels, empty envelopes or packages that have addresses on them. The change in this amendment will allow code enforcement officers to directly contact the Sheriff’s Department call center to get this information to expedite actions against suspected dumpers.

The proposed amendment will allow code enforcement officers to access the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. The changee will allow the code enforcement officers, who have direct access to surveillance cameras and observe when illegal dumping occurs, to contact directly the call center. Current policy requires code enforcement officers to ask sheriff’s deputies to get registered vehicle owner information; with the new ordinance, the officers may contact CLETS directly for information.


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