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Cudahy hires new city manager after firing top executive in March

August 5, 2011 | 10:06 am

George Perez was fired as Cudahy's city manager in March.
Cudahy, one of California's poorest and densest cities, has hired a new city manager, a job that has been vacant since March when the council fired its top executive.
The city has hired Hector Rodriguez, former director of operations for the bus and rail systems at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Cudahy Mayor Josue Barrios said in a statement Friday. He will start his new job in two weeks.
Rodriguez, 49, has spent the last three years overseeing the operation of Metro’s 2,200 buses, more than 200 rail vehicles, 7,300 employees and an annual budget of $1.2 billion.
In March, the Cudahy City Council fired its city manager, George Perez, who held the job for more than a decade. The move came amid increased scrutiny into the operations of several cities in southeast Los Angeles County, prompted by The Times’ revelations of enormous salaries paid to officials in neighboring Bell.
Perez had been a janitor and maintenance worker for the city when he was elected to the Cudahy City Council in 1994. Later, his fellow council members voted to fire the city manager and hire Perez in his place, though he had no experience or public-administration education.
Perez was the target of a conflict-of-interest investigation into his appointment, by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which later dropped its probe. No charges were filed.
In his statement, Barrios emphasized that the council had performed an “intensive search” before hiring Rodriguez, which included “pre-screening, rounds of interviews and in-depth reference checks.”
Rodriguez also previously served as the city manager and finance director of the city of Barstow. Before that, he worked for MV, a private van shuttle service.
A naturalized American citizen born in Tijuana and raised in Boyle Heights, Rodriguez has a master’s degree in business administration from Pepperdine University and an undergraduate business degree from California State Long Beach.


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Photo: George Perez was fired as Cudahy's city manager in March. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times