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Peñitas suspends wastewater plant director amid internal investigation

This article was originally published in the Progress Times issue dated Friday, April 12, 2019.

The city of Peñitas suspended its wastewater plant director last month amid an investigation into “violations of policy and possible misuse of city resources.”

Peñitas suspended Wastewater Plant Director Javier Ramirez with pay on March 29, said City Manager Omar Romero.

City of Penitas logo“Mr. Ramirez has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation,” Romero said. “At this point, it is an administrative investigation to review violations of policy. If at any time it changes to a criminal investigation, obviously we’ll update that. But at this point it is not a criminal investigation.”

Ramirez couldn’t be reached for comment.

With the investigation pending, Romero declined to discuss what, exactly, triggered the inquiry. When the investigation started and whether or not the allegations involve other employees remains unclear.

“Right now we’re basically just looking into violations of policy and possible misuse of city resources,” Romero said.

The Peñitas Police Department is conducting the investigation.

Ramirez supervises two wastewater plant operators, according to city records. He earns about $38,000 annually.

Peñitas provides residents with sewer service and operates a wastewater treatment plant. The Agua Special Utility District, which provides water service to Peñitas residents, may assist the city until the investigation is completed.

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