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In Maywood it's Recalls, Hires and Fires

At Maywood City Hall, it can feel like the only thing constant is change.  

During Wednesday’s city council meeting, the mayor was served with recall papers, a new interim city manager was unexpectedly hired and a woman called for the council to stop employing city officials who sexually harass women. Overall, it was a pretty quiet night at the Maywood City Council meeting.

Two community members served Mayor Ramon Medina with a recall notice, the first step in a long process of removing an elected official.  

The recall comes two months after authorities with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office executed search warrants at Maywood City Hall, the mayor’s home and auto body shop.  It’s unknown what the subject is of the district attorney’s investigation.

Member of Maywood community addresses Mayor Ramon Medina at a city council meeting

Julia Sylva, who was hired as special counsel for Maywood and also serves as elections official, confirmed Medina received the recall notice. Sylva will be responsible for conducting the recall which was backed by former mayor and council member, Veronica Guardado and resident Mary Mariscal.

During the council meeting Guardado served Medina with the recall papers and Mariscal referenced sexual harassment issues at city hall during public comment.

"We’ve been trying to serve him," Veronica Guardado said who claimed it was the fourth attempt by the women to give the mayor a recall notice.

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"Medina is not there to serve the community and it’s very obvious. With all the wasteful spending and not following his request for proposals process. He’s not paying attention to the needs of the community and the concerns of the residents, especially with the cannabis businesses," Guardado said.

"I think the community has made it very clear that they are fed up with Mr. Medina and his failed leadership. However, I am not confident that the residents of Maywood will have a fair shot at an honest and impartial recall process,” said council member Eddie De La Riva. He wouldn’t comment on the sexual harassment claims because he said they are a personnel matter.

De La Riva alleges Sylva tried to prevent Mariscal from serving the mayor with a recall notice by hiding him in a conference room.

"She did not allow Ms. Mariscal from approaching the dais, which is not her call to make," according to De La Riva.

Sylva and Medina did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Maywood city council also voted to hire a new interim city manager last night, Donald Wagner. Council member Joaquin Lanuza pulled out Wagner’s resume and passed it around to the other council members for consideration. It was the first time the council learned of Wagner and his interest in the position according to De La Riva.

"I had no idea that someone was being considered much less his name and qualifications up until I was handed the resume right before a vote was taken," council member De La Riva said after the vote.

"I am disappointed that once again there was no vetting process, no interview, no job posting, no recruitment," De La Riva added.

Wagner, who was not at the meeting, has held managerial positions with Rosemead, Pomona and Downey,  according to Lanuza’s introduction. He will be Maywood’s fourth city manager in the past two years.

"Does he have a clean record?" Medina asked.

"Squeeky clean,” Lanuza responded.

Wagner is expected to start his interim position as city manager on April 16 and will likely earn $145,000 annual salary, the same as the previous city manager, Reuben Martinez. Martinez went out on paid leave for stress a week after the raids by the district attorney’s office, according to the Los Angeles Times.

No charges have been filed by prosecutors according to a public affairs official with the District Attorney’s office.

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