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EXCLUSIVE: Pico Rivera Interim City Manager Enriquez Forced Out, Departure Leaves City Without Top Management

Pico Rivera Interim City Manager James Enriquez resigned Friday

 

Sunday Sept. 16, 2018, 9:05 a.m.

BY BRIAN HEWS

Hews Media Group-Community News has exclusively learned that interim Pico Rivera City Manager James Enriquez has resigned and will leave his position in two weeks.

The resignation marks the fourth high-level manager to exit the beleaguered city in recent months, resignations that have Mayor pro tem Brent Tercero, and City Councilmen Greg Salcido and David Armenta’s fingerprints all over them.

 

Councilman David Armenta, Mayor pro tem Brent Tercero and Councilman Greg Salcido.

Fire City Manager First

The Armenta, Salcido, and Tercero management purge began in early March when HMG-LCCN exclusively reported on a lunch meeting at Pico Rivera’s Dal Rae restaurant.

 

Pico Rivera City Manager Bobadilla to be Terminated for Refusing to ‘Change’ City Vendor

 

The meeting was attended by Armenta, Mayor Gustavo Camacho, two “potential city vendors,” former City Manager Rene Bobadilla, and former Assistant City Manager Ben Cardenas.

During the meeting, Armenta ordered Bobadilla to illegally terminate the City’s contract with LEBA Inc., the long-time operator of the Pico Rivera Sports Arena.

Bobadilla objected to the termination arguing that LEBA was not in violation of their contract.

An angry Armenta stood up from the meeting and reportedly yelled, “if that is the way you want it, then we will do something else.”

Brown Act Violation?

Days later, Armenta ordered Bobadilla to attend a meeting that Greg Salcido “unexpectedly” attended.

Bobadilla was told that Armenta, Salcido, and Tercero would vote to terminate him from his City Manager position and gave him until the close of business March 7 to resign.

HMG-LCCN reported on the scheme, forcing the three Councilman to postpone the bogus resignation until the next Council meeting.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Scheme to Fire Pico Rivera City Manager Rene Bobadilla Driven by Lust and Greed

 

 

 

Before the meeting, Armenta, Salcido, and Tercero, without public input, voted 3-2 in closed session to approve a “separation agreement” with the City, with sources telling HMG-LCCN that Bobadilla received nearly $500,000 in severance pay.

Michael Garcia, Linkedin

Following Bodabilla’s departure, the three then set their sights on Community Development Director Michael Garcia.

Garcia saw the writing on the wall and resigned to accept a similar position in Norwalk.

Following the Garcia resignation, Assistant City Manager Ben Cardenas resigned to accept a finance position in the private sector.

Resident John Albitre, who protested the forced resignations, told HMG-LCCN, “What Armenta pulled along with Tercero and that military hating Councilman Salcido was absolutely criminal.  Those three colluded together in advance to fire a good man.  Furthermore, Salcido and Tercero aided and abetted Armenta in the criminal act of extorting a government employee [to terminate the LEBA contract], forcing him to choose between committing a crime or saving his job.”

After Cardenas’ resignation, Armenta and company then set their sights on Enriquez who finally succumbed to the pressure and resigned yesterday.

The resignations of Enriquez,  Garcia, and Cardenas leave the City Manager, Director of Public Works, and the Director of Finance management positions vacant, with no one to take charge.

Finding a replacement will be challenging; according to sources, the City has been blackballed by recruitment firms due to the toxic culture inside City Hall.

Councilman Bob Archuleta did not mince words telling HMG-LCCN, “The loss of [James] Enriquez is a huge blow to the City.  He was pulling double-duty serving as our Interim City Manager and Director of Public Works.  This resignation stings especially when considering that we also recently accepted the resignation of Cardenas.  Both had stepped up to serve the city well.”

“Enriquez’ resignation will present major challenges on a scale the City has never seen before.”

With the recruitment blackball, Archuleta has taken the lead and asked City Attorney Arnold Glasman to locate and hire a qualified City Manager to fill the position.

But even that could be problematic.

Sources have told HMG-LCCN that Armenta is attempting to fire Glasman, after the Council voted 4-0 to deny paying Armenta’s legal fees in the upcoming lawsuit filed by LEBA.

The LEBA lawsuit was first reported by HMG-LCCN.

 

SEX, DRUGS, & ROCK N’ ROLL: Complaint Alleges Interference of a Contractual Relationship Against Pico Rivera City Councilman David Armenta

 

In his comments, Archuleta made his sentiments clear that the three-member voting bloc of Armenta, Salcido and Tercero had caused the current City problems when they “forced Bobadilla out.”

Archuleta, who is the front-runner to be elected to the State Senate representing the 32nd District in November, told HMG-LCCN that he was adamantly against the removal of Bobadilla and firmly believes that the firing of Bobadilla “could have been a political vendetta.”

 

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