Benton Price, the general manager of the Capistrano Beach Sanitary District for the past two years, was fired this week, effective immediately.
The district's five-member board of directors voted 3 to 2 during a closed-door session Tuesday night to fire Price, a resident of San Diego County who had worked for the district as an independent contractor.
Directors Larry Montoya, Jim Forrester and Kenneth Lawrence Jr. voted with the majority. Bill Morison and Don Simpkin dissented.
None of the directors who voted in the majority could be reached for comment to explain the decision. But Morison said the firing was prompted by anonymous complaints from some of the district's 10 employees and called the decision "a gross misjudgment on the part of the three who voted for it."
"There were petty allegations presented by nameless and faceless sources," Morison said. "These were undoubtedly initiated by a marginal employee who was criticized for his poor performance. Here we are, seven months away from a merger (with another district) with no manager, our superintendent on vacation and Mutt and Jeff running the plant."
Morison said the allegations dealt with employee relations but would not elaborate. Price, who could not be reached for comment, earned about $60,000 a year.