Posted: Jan 9, 2013 5:17 PM by Rachel Cole - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Jan 9, 2013 11:33 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The city has fired a gas department employee after someone caught him on camera violating city policy. His problems began when he picked up a woman in his city vehicle.
A lady in the area of Port and Mary was dropping her son off at a relative's home, when she snapped a photo of a city gas truck, that pulled over near a woman who waved him down.
The picture was taken on December 7th, the woman who took it says the photo shows a female getting into the city truck. According to her, they then drove off and about 15 minutes later the city truck returned and dropped the woman off.
The woman who took the photo sent in a copy to the newsroom, the photo was then forwarded to the city. A week later, gas department employee Ernest Puente was placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation.
During the investigation, Puente submitted a written statement saying, he told the woman she was not allowed in the truck. Then he says he was practicing his religious background by helping someone in need. Puente stated the woman he let into the truck claimed she needed milk for her baby and he reluctantly said he would take her to the grocery store to get what she needed. He then said, "The female asked if I date or something like that."
Puente says that's when he thought his job would be in jeopardy so he turned around to drop her off in the same neighborhood where he first picked her up.
The city's investigation wrapped up on December 20th when Puente lost his job for violating a city policy that states, "City vehicles are to be used for official business only and that transportation of private citizens is prohibited."
Puente's supervisor Deborah Marroquin who says there is zero tolerance when it comes to city policy's and procedures
"The policy that's violated is, we have city vehicles that we own, as being the city and therefore only people that are authorized to be in that vehicle can be otherwise it's a liability to the city." Marroquin said.
Although Puente had worked with the gas department for 9 years, Marroquin says they had no choice but to fire him.
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