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Nieto’s position terminated by the City of Presidio

July 6th, 2017 under Top Stories
(photo by ELVIRA LARA) Presidio Mayor John Ferguson speaks at Wednesday's special city council meeting regarding the termination of Carlos Nieto's special projects coordinator position with the City of Presidio.

(photo by ELVIRA LARA)
Presidio Mayor John Ferguson speaks at Wednesday’s special city council meeting regarding the termination of Carlos Nieto’s special projects coordinator position with the City of Presidio.

By ELVIRA LARA

PRESIDIO — The Presidio City Council held a special meeting Wednesday night to terminate the position of Special Projects Coordinator, held by recently arrested Carlos Nieto.

The FBI took Nieto and Presidio County Commissioner Lorenzo Hernandez into custody last Thursday for charges of federal bribery, fraud, and deprivation of honest services. Nieto’s employment with the city was terminated following the council’s decision to do away with his position.

Carlos Nieto

Carlos Nieto

“As per action taken by the city council tonight the position no longer is in existence, so therefore Mr. Nieto no longer has a position to be employed with,” determined Mayor John Ferguson upon returning from closed session. “I think a lot of people are demanding some transparency, some accountability from the City of Presidio. We want to give it to them.”

Nieto was hired as Special Projects Coordinator approximately seven years ago. The position was created to employ Nieto’s consultation services. His work consisted of lobbying and searching for projects to benefit the community. “Mr. Nieto knows a lot of people so it was felt at the time he had a great deal to offer with his contacts,” explained Mayor Ferguson.

Initially, the work was somewhat contractual but became a full-time position for Nieto as the years went by. According to Ferguson, last year his annual salary was increased to $47,000 in response to new employment guidelines established by the Obama administration. However, Nieto had no office hours nor did he report to city hall like a regular employee.

“There was concern about Mr. Nieto being accountable,” said Ferguson. “He was doing his thing and I think that’s one of the concerns people raised.”

It’s unclear what Nieto accomplished during his time as Special Projects Coordinator. He would work on assignments as needed, reporting to the mayor and city council when requested.

“He was more of an advocate for the city, helping us with whatever we were trying to do to help the city,” said Ferguson.

Councilman Samuel Carrasco explained that Nieto’s position was terminated because of changes in administration, not due to recent events. “The position was no longer needed. It’s something that was put on the table as far as not really benefiting the city of Presidio because it was more meant to be an at-will position. Basically with all the audits that the city has been doing and the restructuring, putting it all together again to fix what’s been broken, what’s not delivering, I think this position factored in,” Carrasco said.

The council voted unanimously to abolish the Special Projects Coordinator position entirely. This will free up monies to be used in other areas of city government that could be more beneficial to the community.

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