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California

Maywood’s acting city manager goes out on paid leave

MAYWOOD, CALIF. -- THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2016: A woman pushes a toddler in a stroller past city hall in
A woman pushes a toddler in a stroller past Maywood City Hall in 2016.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Maywood’s acting city manager has gone on paid leave because of stress, said Robert Alaniz, the town’s spokesman.

Alaniz said the announcement was made Friday and did not say how long Reuben Martinez would be absent. No additional details were provided.

But sources familiar with the issue, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorize to speak to the media, said Martinez was placed on leave because of an internal investigation regarding allegations of misconduct.

In a text message, Martinez said only that he was officially “out on paid administrative leave due to stress” and did not respond to the allegations.

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Reached by phone, Vice Mayor Ricardo Villareal said he had not heard about Martinez and could not comment. Mayor Ramon Medina could not be reached.

Martinez’s absence is another setback for the 1.2-square-mile city in southeast Los Angeles County. More than a week ago, investigators with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office descended on the working-class town to serve searched warrants at City Hall, the city’s maintenance contractor and the properties of Medina, Villarreal and former Councilman Sergio Calderon.

The scope of the investigation remains unknown.

Martinez, a former projects manager for Boeing, has been a controversial figure in Maywood, which was facing financial problems when the city hired him in April 2016. Martinez did not have any experience running a city, and it was later revealed that he was a customer of the mayor’s mechanic shop, R & M Auto Service.

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Martinez’s first day sitting with the council in May 2016 was eventful. Villarreal, who was then mayor, had resigned from his leadership position, accusing three council members of violating open-meeting laws and City Atty. Mike Montgomery of providing the wrong legal advice in regard to Martinez’s contract.

City Clerk Gerry Mayagotia made similar allegations after he learned the contract he signed had not been discussed publicly. City officials later resolved the issue.

City officials have not said who would assume Martinez’s duties in the interim.

ruben.vives@latimes.com

For more Southern California news, follow @latvives on Twitter.


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