After 13 years in the Colorado Springs Streets Division, Amaro Montemayor resigned from his job as operations manager because he said his concerns about the department were ignored and even suppressed.
Montemayor spoke exclusively with KRDO NewsChannel 13 about the situation.
He said that a year ago, he began to express concerns to human resources about waste and inefficiency in the department.
"They ran through more material this year, than they have in any other year -- and we haven't had half the snow," Montemayor said. "And they hired a (Colorado Department of Transportation) supervisor to revamp the snow program when they already had new management that should have done it. This is with taxpayer money. They said the previous snow program was inefficient and wasn't being done right."
Montemayor said he was labeled a disgruntled employee and was placed on leave last summer, shortly after his new boss, Corey Farkas, arrived.
"Right off the bat, there wasn't a very good relationship there," Montemayor said. When he came on as streets division manager, I was there for two months before they put me on leave. The reason was fabricated allegations."
Montemayor declined to elaborate on the reasons for his leave because he said he has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and that agency is investigating his treatment on the job.
"And it wasn't just me," he said. "It's also a handful of other people who are in the same boat as I was. There's been people that were fired for very small infractions (that) were made to be much more than what they were."
Montemayor said he wonders why the street in Farkas' neighborhood is scheduled for repaving this summer when so many city streets and roads are plagued with a record number of potholes.
"That doesn't look good," Montemayor said. "It's not right."
A man who said his son has worked in the department for nine years, contacted KRDO NewsChannel 13 by email and supported some of Montemayor's comments.
"Recently (my son's) job duties were overhauled and restructured," the man said. "Less-skilled workers (have) replaced skilled workers. Changes are being made to sabotage the budget. The mayor is ignoring these facts."
Montemayor said he's not bitter and doesn't want his job back, but he cares about his former co-workers.
"People are just about demoralized, don't want to come to work, hate coming to work, don't understand what they're doing. It's bad," he said. "The job qualifications for managers are much lower than they used to be. When you bring in somebody that doesn't have the experience in running a department like this, you're going to have poor leadership. And bad decisions are going to get made. There really isn't a blame on one person. It's a blame on a few people. I don't think (City Hall) knows the whole story. I don't think they're being told the whole story."
City officials declined to address Montemayor's concerns directly. However, Dave Lethbridge, the city's public works director, released this statement:
"It is the City’s policy not to discuss personnel matters. However, I can tell you that the Streets Division has performed exceptionally well over the last year. We have made significant strides to improve how we manage maintenance operations, notably, snow removal, as well as street maintenance and flood mitigation work. We have received many accolades from the Mayor, City Council members and the community on our efforts to maintain our City’s streets."
KRDO NewsChannel 13 also tried on Thursday and Friday to contact Farkas for a response but was unsuccessful.
Montemayor plans to seek a similar job elsewhere. He thanks the city for hiring him and allowing him to acquire skills that he can use in the future.