Councilmember Oscar Ortiz seeking an investigation into hiring practices of new city manager

INDIO — Hours before the City Council was scheduled to vote on hiring a new city manager, Councilmember Oscar Ortiz posted on his Facebook page that he would be abstaining from the vote and would be seeking an investigation into the process that took place to hire this person.

“This is a very important position for our city and economic development,” Ortiz said in his post. “This person will be in charge of $150 million dollars each year and (will) help us in our conversations about budgets, taxes, public policies, and other major conversations for our city.”

Ortiz said he has reason enough to believe this hiring process has been “illegal, wrong and wrong.”

The county will need to review the information submitted to it and they will decide whether an investigation into this case of great interest, Ortiz wrote.

“I hope these actions show the community better accountability, more transparency and better ethical standards,” Ortiz stated. “In advance I tell you that an investigation like this will take several months to be conducted.”

Ortiz did not return a phone call from Uken Report.

“Once the investigation process is over, then I will take up this issue so I can define what suits our citizens, who live, work and pay taxes in the city of Indian,” Ortiz wrote on Facebook.

Ortiz said he has asked a Riverside County Civil Grand Jury to review the procedure.

A representative of the Riverside County Grand Jury Office could not be reached for comment Friday.

The City Council voted 3-1 to hire Bryan Montgomery,  Councilmember Waymond Fermon dissented and Ortiz abstained. Montgomery is scheduled to begin Thursday, May 13, 2021.  He will replace Mark Scott, who announced his retirement last year, and has served as Indio’s City Manager since 2017.

Montgomery is the current city manager of Oakley, Calif.,a town of about 43,000 in Northern California. Montgomery has 28 years of experience in local government and has been with Oakley for 15 of them.

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  • Oscar Ortiz: Oscar Ortiz