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Deputy director of water utility to retire under pressure

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 by Austin Monitor

Under pressure from City Manager Marc Ott, Austin Water Utility Deputy Director Perwez Moheet has decided to retire. Moheet was placed on administrative leave last week and sent his notice of retirement to Assistant City Manager Rudy Garza on Tuesday.


The action relates back to a report by MGT of America, Inc., which found significant flaws in the process used in appointing seven officials in AWU’s Pipeline Operations Division. Two employees complained about the process when they were passed over for promotion, alleging race and gender discrimination.


Although the report found no reason to believe that race and gender played a part in the hiring decisions, the department, and Moheet in particular, faced harsh criticism for failing to comply with the city’s hiring policies.


According to the report, “(T)he Water Utility’s decision to stop and abandon the formal hiring process and appoint does not conform to the city’s standard promotional process. Moreover, the decision to appoint in the middle of the process demonstrates a general disregard for the city-wide personnel policies and only serves to create (or exacerbate) suspicion and distrust throughout the Water Utility.”


Ott released the following statement Wednesday: “As information has come to light over the past few weeks in regards to decisions and actions made at Austin Water Utility, and Mr. Moheet’s involvement in some of them, I felt compelled to move the organization in a new direction. Since that time Mr. Moheet has made the decision to retire.  Perwez has contributed greatly to the success of Austin Water over his long career, but the poor decisions brought to light through the MGT investigation are clearly inconsistent with our goal of becoming the best managed city in the country. We certainly wish him well in his future endeavors.”


Moheet has worked for the City of Austin for more than 30 years, most of them with the water utility. He became deputy director of AWU in 2006 and served as acting director during the search for the current director, Greg Meszaros, in 2007. His retirement, like others, will take effect at the end of the month. Moheet could not be reached for comment.


For more on the investigation, see In Fact Daily, April 1, 2010.


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