The Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) board of directors voted this week to terminated the contract of General Manager Juan Garza.
Garza will continue to serve with full authority until June 30. PEC brought in Garza in 2008 to clean up the cooperative after former General Manager Benny Fuelberg retired. Fuelberg and former PEC President W.W. Burnett were subsequently indicted on felony charges by a Blanco County grand jury after the state Attorney General’s office investigated unlawful conduct at PEC following charges of misapplication of fiduciary property and theft of property.
During Garza’s tenure, PEC fired its former law firm and instituted election reforms to open up the process by closing rules that virtually guaranteed re-election for sitting board members.
PEC officials did not announce the specific reasons for relieving Garza, though PEC Board President Larry Landaker indicated that the general manager and the board no longer were working in concert.
“It is safe to say that anytime an action like this is taken, it is an indication that the board and general manager are not in sync and are going in different directions,” Landaker said. “It is the sense of the board that the general manager needs to be on the same page as the board and going in the same direction.”
Landaker also announced a special board meeting for 10 a.m. Saturday in Johnson City to consider the appointment of an interim general manager. Landaker said the board intends to hire a firm to conduct a national search for a new general manager. The search could take between six and nine months, though Landaker stressed that the board will take as much time as needed to find the right candidate for PEC.
“I accept the decision of this board with the understanding that I have done the best job I can with one of the greatest teams of employees that I have ever known,” Garza said. “PEC is so much stronger than it was when I was asked to become its general manager … The employees of PEC are the most dedicated and hard working group of employees that I have ever known. I wish them the best in their efforts to keep us forever proud of what PEC does for our community.”Email | Print