How in the world does a Webb County department head get his hand slapped 29 times and still manage to keep it in the cookie jar?
As the Laredo Morning Times reported online yesterday, former water utilities director for Webb County Johnny Amaya was reprimanded nearly 30 times over a decade and “at one point was up for termination.”
“Up for termination.” REALLY?
The first time Amaya got cited for failing to maintain the equipment that runs the county water supply should have been the last. The big question here isn’t why Amaya did what he did. It’s why his boss, Judge Danny Valdez, allowed it to go on for so long. Why did it take a boil water order for Amaya to finally step down? Why did Judge Valdez allow thousands of Webb County families to be exposed — for an unknown number months — to a dangerous, potentially lethal, water supply?
While many jokes come to mind, Lizardistas, it took the “Mark of CHORRO” in Rio Bravo and El Cenizo to finally get this snake oil salesman off the payroll. And, as has been the hallmark of his years as County Judge, Valdez did NOTHING.
Amaya was entrusted with the health and wellbeing of thousands of families. He failed miserably. He endangered entire communities by his negiligence. He even overcharged UISD schools by about $140,000 (who knows how that happened?) But he kept his job, even though the state repeatedly smacked him for failing to do his job… 29 times!
Again, there’s no telling what deals were made over the years to keep Amaya in that position. Word on the street is that Valdez knew about all of these infractions. Further, Lizardistas, we hear from county sources that Valdez ignored reports that the water in El Cenizo and Rio Bravo were unsafe.
And we ALL know that Valdez didn’t fire Amaya. Now to be fair to Valdez, 18 of the reprimands were issued to Amaya before Valdez took office in January, 2007. But 11 have come since, including one for abusing County resources by calling contractors for donations to his political steak plate sale! In other words, this guy was shaking down county contractors for political donations using county resources!
Was he planning a run for office? I guess after he left the Mark of CHORRO on Rio Bravo and El Cenizo, we all know what kind of run Amaya was involved with, whether it was within his control or not.
Our question is why?
You know, recently, some of our local political experts have criticized candidates for hosting dances, steak plate sales, bowling tournaments, and most recently, appearing in a baseball game. While on the surface, that criticism is silly (at best) at the start of a political season, it begs the bigger question: Is expanded political activity a good thing?
Well, my friends, the Lizard thinks the more you participate and the more you know, the less likely stupid, dangerous, potentially criminal stuff like this going to happen.
We urge you to ask the hard questions. Go meet your candidates. Give to the candidates of your choice. But DO NOT allow corrupt politicians, self-righteous commentators (like us) and political rumor mongers with their hands in the cookie jar make up your mind for you.
The TRUTH is out there. DEMAND THE TRUTH … no matter how STUPID it is!
With that, we want to wish Keyrose at La Sanbe blog the best of luck. We’re sorry to lose you from our little borderblogosphere. But the door’s open… and this party is just getting started!