Baeza terminated after 16 years with the city of Presidio

PRESIDIO – Presidio Police Chief Marco Baeza was terminated from the job he held the past 16 years, effective Tuesday.

Baeza also served as city administrator from April 2011 to October 2016 while at the same time holding the position of police chief.

Current City Administrator Joe Portillo wouldn’t comment on Baeza’s termination but verified that he no longer was employed by the City of Presidio.

When contacted Tuesday, Baeza said, “I am ready to move forward and I have other avenues to look forward to.”

Mayor John Ferguson said, “The Presidio City Council has a policy in place that authorizes the city administrator to have authority over all other city personnel in employment matters.  I feel that our current city administrator, Jose Portillo is making employment-related decisions that are in the best interest of the city, as well as the entire community.  In the case of Chief of Police Marco Baeza’s termination, I support the action taken by Mr. Portillo.  I consider Marco to be a good friend, and I wish him nothing but the best.  However, Mr. Portillo was hired to direct getting the city’s affairs in order, and he is well within his authority to take certain steps–including this–to achieve that end.”

According to the termination letter received by Baeza – who shared it with the International – it states, “you are informed of your termination immediately for the inability to perform job duties and/or meet the minimum requirements of the position.”

Baeza’s work as city administrator came under scrutiny earlier this year after the city received “adverse” opinions in four late-performed fiscal audits – 2013 to 2016 – for lack of financial records and oversight.

In addition, the 2012, completed on time, also received an adverse opinion, and Baeza was the city administrator during the years of the adverse audits.

In regard to the vacancy created by Baeza’s departure, Portillo said, “The City’s Human Resource policy has a mechanism for us to go in house, within the ranks of City employees, if someone is interested and we feel they are qualified. It is too early to say if we will open up the position or hire in-house, but we will be looking for a replacement.”