El Paso Times’ Coverage of Irene Ramirez’ Retirement

Did you see this story in the El Paso’s English language daily today concerning the retirement of City Engineer Irene Ramirez?

City Engineer Irene D. Ramirez, the first woman to hold the job and who oversaw the San Jacinto Plaza renovation, plans to retire at the end of the month, city officials said Tuesday.

Officials said her retirement will not cause further delays in the plaza’s renovation.

Can you say scapegoat?

The Times, or perhaps the City, wants to link Ms. Ramirez’ retirement to the delays in the San Jacinto Plaza renovation without coming right out and saying it.

It may well be that Ms. Ramirez was induced to retire. A consistent rumor at the City holds that the relatively new City Manager Tommy Gonzalez wants to replace all the vestiges of the last regime. The San Jacinto Plaza debacle may not have had anything to do with Ms. Ramirez’ career plans.

It would be interesting to hear what Ms. Ramirez had to say about the Plaza project. Maybe she could talk about Country Club Road, too.

Here’s another nugget from the piece in the Times:

The status of the San Jacinto Plaza and Barron Park in Northeast El Paso were on the executive session of Tuesday’s City Council agenda.

It’s hard to see where those projects fall into these guidelines for discussion in Executive Session, from City Council’s agenda:







Maybe it falls under the secret sections, SAVING US FROM EMBARRASSMENT and GETTING OUR LIES STRAIGHT.

I admire the El Paso taxpayers and voters for their magnanimous tolerance and equanimity in the face of such blatant ineptitude on the part of both City Council and the El Paso Times. I guess after a while, it doesn’t hurt anymore.

One comment

  1. Oh, it’s FAR, FAR worse than that. The reason that Barron Park is behind schedule is that Engineering & Construction assigned a Project Manager to a 1.5 million dollar project that had never run anything larger than $150,000 before.

    Ms. O.Yesenia Castro’s total incompetence in understanding how to run a project, her total lack of responsiveness when requests were made for information on how to proceed, her lack of any sort of personal construction oversight and her general lack of knowledge of processes were catalysts for the delays.

    Perfect example: The Contractor, Spartan Construction of New Mexico, LLC, brought to Ms. Castro’s attention that the blueprints, as designed, placed a rubble wall on top of the piers for the shade structures over the playground area. After that, it took 40 days for Ms. Castro to make a decision about IF the wall could be moved (it absolutely HAD to be moved if the shade structures were to remain). Then, she claimed that for that rubble wall a “perch” (measurement of wall) was 25 cubic feet and refused to approve the rubble wall volume. This is important, because while a dressed STONE wall is a 25 (16.5 x 18″ x 12″) cubic foot perch, a brickwork or RUBBLE wall is a 16.5 cubic foot perch 16.5 x 12″ x 12″).

    Further, the City of El Paso materially misrepresented the nature of the site to the Contractor prior to beginning work. The soils report presented indicated there were insignificant amounts of Caliche on site. Spartan was requred to strip the ground and shatter large formations of Caliche, and is now demanding an additional 90 days against liquidated damages calculations for having to rip the soil and truck in additional topsoil. Ms. Castro refused to allow this change, as she claimed it was part of the Contract I promptly said: NO! and now Spartan is seeking an additional $80k for the extra work of moving 4,000 cubic yards of soil.

    So, the short version is: you have a project consultant who was incompetent, design blue-prints that overlaid incomparable elements (ponding areas under the pumphouse and specified thorny trees and plants for areas where children would be playing, a Project Manager who was in over her head, accounting which doesn’t care if it kills the contractor by failing to timely pay, and a Parks & Recreation Department with no power over the contract directing work of subcontractors without any authority to do so.

    If this goes to litigation because the City desires to be unreasonable, it will turn into a circus of how the City is almost entirely incompetent.

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