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Agua SUD finance director leaves for Edinburg City Hall

A top-level administrator resigned from the Agua Special Utility District last week, becoming the second senior manager to leave since September.

Finance Director Dagoberto Soto Jr. resigned from the utility district Nov. 2 and accepted a job with the city of Edinburg.

AguaSUDLogo“He’ll be sorely missed,” said General Manager Jose E. “Eddie” Saenz.

Soto managed the five-person finance department and briefed the utility board on budget matters. He also handled the annual audit report, which received plaudits from the Government Finance Officers Association.

After four years with the utility district, Soto accepted a job with the city of Edinburg. He and Edinburg City Manager Juan Guerra previously worked together in Pharr.

“I never fault anybody for moving up in the world, as far as their individual responsibilities,” Saenz said. “It’s a great step for him, and we look forward to seeing him move up even further if he can.”

Soto couldn’t be reached for comment. He’s the second senior manager to leave the utility district since September, when Billing Manager Rodolfo “Rudy” Flores III abruptly resigned.

Neither attorney Frank Garza, who represents the utility district, nor Flores would comment on what happened. However, records released by the utility district under the Texas Public Information Act show Saenz suspended Flores without pay.

“This action is based on a current investigation due to unsatisfactory performance in the Billing Department,” Saenz wrote in a memo dated Sept. 6.

Saenz apparently became concerned after reviewing payroll records, which showed two billing department employees rarely worked 40-hour weeks.

One employee hadn’t worked 80 hours during a two-week pay period since January 2017, according to payroll records released by the utility district. The other had worked just three.

Flores, though, kept approving requests for sick leave, vacation hours and time off without pay.

“Since this concern was never addressed by your Billing Department Supervisor Rodolfo Flores III, this warning will be placed in your employee file,” Saenz wrote in memos dated Sept. 7.

The utility district placed both employees on probation for 90 days, citing “excessive absenteeism and consistent lateness.”

Flores resigned on Sept. 10 and accepted a job with the city of Palmview.

While the utility district is short two senior managers, Saenz said he’s not concerned. Experienced employees will handle management tasks until they’re either promoted or the utility district advertises the positions.

Senior Accountant Parthkumar Naik, who joined the utility district in July 2014, is managing the finance department. Krysthal Conchas, a clerk who joined the utility district in April 2002, is managing the billing department.

“We’re giving opportunities to the individuals that worked with them,” Saenz said, adding that he wants to promote qualified employees whenever possible.

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