RIALTO - City officials are rallying around a public works administrator whose management style has been questioned by union leaders.

Public works employees have been asked to cast a vote of no confidence against Alfredo Cardenas, the department's deputy director.

City Administrator Henry Garcia, however, said he has confidence in Cardenas and noted the department is undergoing several positive changes.

"Fred is doing an exemplary job," he said, adding that the city's elected officials also support Cardenas.

Last month, a number of public works employees and the Rialto employees' union asked the San Bernardino Public Employees Association to conduct a vote of no confidence in Cardenas. Such a vote holds no formal sway.

But the association sent ballots to 40 public works employees. The ballots have been returned, but the union has not announced the results.

James Estez, the Rialto union's president, said Cardenas is not a good leader, has created a hostile work environment, verbally attacks employees in public and has threatened to contract out their work.

Cardenas has only been in his position since June, such a short a period of time that Mayor Grace Vargas said she does not

believe he is responsible for the problems facing his department.

"I feel seriously that their department has been outgrown," she said.

She said the department needs new equipment and better working conditions. She wants to meet with the employees, Cardenas and Garcia to resolve the issues.

"We need to fix it now," she said.

Cardenas himself said he has no reaction to the employees' charges.

"I really don't have any opinion on what James (Estez) said. I really don't think it's relevant," Cardenas said.

"Transitions are not easy," he added, saying he is making improvements in a number of areas, including how the department administers contracts and complies with government regulations. He said a number of employees are happy with where the department is going.

"I think you'll find that some of them are very receptive to these changes," he said.

According to Business Improvement District Association President Joe Flores, who also owns J&J Auto Fabrics Inc., Cardenas has done a good job helping to clean up the city's downtown .

"He's doing a superior job, as a matter of fact," said Flores, adding that Cardenas has been responsive when it comes to maintaining the downtown area.

"When you see results, they speak for themselves," Flores said.

He agreed that Cardenas is trying to improve the department and therefore might make a small number of employees unhappy.

"He's trying to make things better in his department," Flores said. "Whenever you do that, sometimes you ruffle the feathers of other people who think that everything's OK."

BS Ranch Perspective:

The City Administrator, Garcia, and City Attorney Owens, have to see the door!! They get to much money for to little know how on how to handle employee problems. Not to mention they are doing to little to late on problems that are coming up one after another. The police Department was one thing, but then the Public Works, they were, not happy when the Police was going through their thing, but they laid low with the death of their employee.

The City Administrator, Garcia will stand beside the guy that has given him the most support through the Police Department Negotiations, and the Negotiations for the Public Works Contracts. Garcia has not really done any thing for these people except, thrown then a bone here and there. Please they need to get strong now and do something to listen to the masses that work for the Public Works Leader, he obviously is not competent to do the job, or they would not have a vote of no confidence.

What does Garcia Know about being a Public Works Lead man!! Nothing!

BS Ranch