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Central Basin Water District chief steps down

July 31, 2012 |  3:20 pm

Art Aguilar

The top manager at the Central Basin Municipal Water District will retire in October, officials announced this week.

Art Aguilar has served as general manager at the City of Commerce-based water wholesaler since 2006. Rates rose sharply during his tenure, and the district drew criticism for its contracting decisions and legal battles with another local water agency, the Water Replenishment District. Both agencies are the subject of a state audit. Two board members were ousted in elections in June.

Aguilar’s announcement came Monday, as Central Basin’s board members were set to discuss the “dismissal, discipline, [or] release” of an employee, and the appointment of an interim general manager in a closed meeting.

It was not immediately clear whether the board intended to fire Aguilar, or if he left on his own accord. Central Basin’s spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

However, in a press release issued by the district, Aguilar was hailed for his leadership and financial decision-making.

“He has done an outstanding job managing this district over the years and he will be missed,” board member Edward Vasquez said in the statement. “This place just won’t be the same without him.”

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-- Sam Allen

Photo: Central Basin Water District General Manager Art Aguilar. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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