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Central Basin Water Directors Form Committee to ‘Evaluate’ Newly Hired General Manager

By Brian Hews Central Basin Water Investigation

When former Central Basin Municipal Water District Interim Chief Operating Officer Chuck Fuentes notified Pacifica Services, Inc. President and CEO Ernie Camacho that the CBMWD would no longer accept invoices submitted that did not included detailed explanations of work performed, Camacho eagerly agreed to comply. 

Based on those findings, Fuentes notified Camacho that he intended to bid out the agency’s engineering services and that he had instructed Assistant to the General Manager Ron Beilke to review millions in past billings to determine how the struggling water district had spent upwards of $5 million in fees.

Camacho’s second response was not as congenial as the first.

Central Basin Water District Board Directors Leticia Vasquez and James Roybal.

Central Basin Water District Board Directors Leticia Vasquez and James Roybal.

Within days of Fuentes’s meeting with Camacho, both he and Beilke were fired by the CBMWD’s new majority, which included James Roybal and Leticia Vasquez, both of whom had accepted in excess of $50,000 in political campaign donations from Pacifica, Camacho, and his affiliates, which included MLJ Properties.

MLJ properties initials represent Camacho’s three grown children Michael, Lisa and Jeffery.

After the firings, Water Resources Manager Dave Hill was appointed to replace Fuentes.  Hill cancelled the audit of Pacifica’s billings and all efforts to re-bid the CBMWD’s engineering services.

Documents show that Hill had been the sole CBMWD employee who approved Pacifica’s previous invoices. According to CBMWD Director Art Chacon, Hill possessed no formal training in construction or engineering and was not qualified to perform such duties.

Hill was subsequently replaced by Tony Perez.

With the recent revelations reported by HMG-CN that CBMWD had made Pacifica the benefactor of 8 consecutive no-bid contract extensions over the course of 5 years earning the Pasadena firm nearly $5 million in fees, Perez suspended the services of Pacifica.

Now, similar to when Fuentes and Bielke started digging into Pacifica, that same majority is trying to fire Perez, sources tell HMG-Community News.

Perez determined that the 8th amendment effective June 25, 2012 provided no additional board approved funding and that since November 2012, Pacifica was being paid for work that the elected board had not voted to fund.

Subsequently, Perez, a licensed civil engineer, discovered that work allegedly performed by Camacho’s firm from November 2012 to June 2013 could cost the financially struggling water agency an additional $1 million.

According to sources familiar with Pacifica and the CBMWD, that is when the process to attempt to fire Perez started.

Perez came to the CBMWD on a 5-0 vote two months ago with impressive credentials. Now, according to sources, he is facing an orchestrated attempt by Pacifica backed CBMWD Directors to terminate him.

Central Basin Director Phil Hawkins. Randy Economy Photo

CBMWD Director Phil Hawkins told HMG-CN that President James Roybal and Vice President Bob Apodaca recently formed an ad-hoc committee to “determine” a process to evaluate the performance of the General Manager.

Sources at CBMWD say Roybal and Apodaca are both seeking to terminate Perez. But they are weary of the fact that if they do not establish a “process”, they will draw too much scrutiny and face more potential lawsuits.

Director Chacon was furious. “This is ridiculous, he’s been on the job for less than 90 days and they already feel the need to conduct performance reviews on the guy?  In my opinion, this is what was to be expected when he gave Pacifica the boot.”

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  • Harvey Levin says:

    WTF! What the hell is going on at that place? Daddy’s boy Cedillo Jr. rapes the stupid water rate payers in the Central Basin, felons run candidates with hopes of walking off with obscene riches, and a Director play grab ass with women like he’s cruising the fruit and vegetable aisle at Ralph’s!

    I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised now that these clowns want to fire a quailified General Manager who’s actually HONEST! I actually am surprised they didn’t try harder to keep the immensely unqualified Cedillo Jr. just in case the “bought and paid” trio of Roybal, Apodaca and Vasquez give Perez the boot.

    Let’s not forget, this agency is not out of the woods yet as long as these three crooks are still roaming the street. Lock em up!

  • Jason Herrera says:

    That Roybal is a real piee of s-it. I’m sorry, but there just no other way to describe what a friggin’ idiot this moron is. He’s a two bit special ed teacher at a ghetto high school where he probably walks around like he a real big man. The problem is that he suffers from “little man complex” and it’s just killing him inside. Hey Jimmy, you can’t be what you just were not cut out to be in life, and that’s a real man that normal people can respect. Stick to the special ed kids. Sorry:(

  • Mike Tyson says:

    This office is soooo out of control. Working here is like going to the circus on a daily basis! Apodaca and Roybal are so angry right now that their buddy Gil Jr. was fried (and fired) and that they can’t count on Daddy “one bill Gil’s” favors anymore. Thank you Los Cerritos for giving our General Manager the cover to finally flush that worthless turd down the toilet! And NO, he hasn’t received his degree and the talk now is that he will be seaking a refund for his final semester to pocket the change and return later when he’s on another governmental agency’s payroll? Not surpirised.

    Please, we still need this newspaper to continue to give our GM and the rest of us cover. You need to expose how Roybal, Apodaca and Vasquez are still trying to cover up Dave Hill’s involvememt over the past five years in the Pacifica scam that has been only partially exposed thus far. Kickbacks made so many people here rich and Dave was definitely one of them, only behind Aguilar and Bob Apodaca himself. Roybal is a total chump in that he’s going to burn over Uncle Ernie because he can’t bail out on Apodaca for fear of losing all support. Vasquez was smart enough to jump from that sinking ship months ago. Fat, ugly and absolutely ghetto, but not a total idiot like the other two amigos.

    Authorities need to look into Roybal personal finances. He is driving two different new cars to the District and has somehow misplaced that junker he was driving when he was first elected. Also, it doesn’t take a genius to follow the money on his state contribution reporting forms where Uncle Ernie is prominently features, as he is on Vasquez’ and Apodaca’s of course.

    It’s just a matter of time, these knuckleheads can’t survive much longer.

  • Art & Chuck says:

    Take the money Tony! You have a five year contract so let these turkeys fire you. You’ll laugh all the way to the bank just like us. It’s only rate payer money and they voted these jokers in so who cares, ITS WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT. We can live with ourselves because the money we walked away with was WHAT THE PEOPLE WANTED. It’s time for this newspaper to stop complaining about the corruption at Central Basin because ITS WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT. Its so simple, why do people acted surprised? xoxoxo

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