But there was plenty of discussion and plenty of disagreement among the council.
According to Digiacomo, it was recently discovered that, without any council approval or knowledge, potential contractors approaching the town for permits in the Building and Zoning Department were being charged an extra $350 on top of the regular permit fees — fees that were going directly to Ruiz without the town seeing any of the added revenue.
“To be honest, I’m not even sure how legal it is and I just don’t feel Mr. Ruiz can be trusted at this point,” said Digiacomo. “We need to find a way to keep costs down in order to attract new business, not drive them up.”
“I feel it’s very unethical and we as a town do not want to be known as doing business that way,” said Guasch.
After Edgar Ayala voted yes, the necessary votes were there before Jack Morrow voted no and Martell voted no as well.
“I was mayor of this town for nearly 10 years and never once fired anybody,” said Morrow. “Not because I was soft, but just that I did not believe in trying to ruin people’s lives without just cause. I feel that Mr. Ruiz should be given some sort of due process rights here that he’s not being given.”
“I would have voted for a suspension myself pending a complete investigation, but the vote to terminate has been made,” said Martell. “But we will need to look further into the matter.”
Looking further into the matter will mean that a special workshop will be held soon (no date was given) to look into the entire process of permit fees at, which time exactly what took place in Ruiz’s case will be reviewed. And if it’s determined that Ruiz was wrongfully terminated, the possibility of reinstatement could be discussed.
• It was photo night at the start of the meeting as numerous people were honored, including long-time maintenance employee Sergio Marchante. After 36 years of fixing heaven knows how many leaky pipes, Marchante retired last week and he was recognized by the council and Martell with a plaque.