City Engineer submits resignation less than two months on the job

City of Hemet continues to have “turn-over of key city staff”

■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter

Less than six weeks after being hired by the City of Hemet, Engineering Director/City Engineer Derek Wieske has submitted his resignation, according to city insiders. Wieske was employed by the City of Vernon for a year before coming to Hemet.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Perciful was the lone “no” vote when the hiring of Wieske went before the Hemet City Council on April 11. Wieske formally began his position as Engineering Director/City Engineer on April 24. His last day was June 1, and The Valley Chronicle was told Wieske left because “the commute was too long.”
This resignation only solidifies the state auditor’s issue regarding the turnover of key staff. Two Engineering Directors/City Engineers have resigned since December of 2016. Steven Latino resigned in December, and now Wieske. In February, Jessica Hurst, deputy city manager/administrative services, abruptly resigned, and according to the city, it was because “she wanted to work closer to home.”
The termination clause of Wieske’s contract states, “6.2 [Termination] By Employee. Wieske may terminate his employment for any reason, and at any time, with or without cause, by providing City with thirty (30) days advance written notice. City shall have the option, in its complete discretion, to make Wieske’s termination effective at any time prior to the end of such period, provided City pays Wieske all compensation due and owing his through the last day actually worked, plus an amount equal to the base salary Wieske would have earned through the balance of the above notice period.”
We previously reported for Wieske’s hiring that “The candidates went through two rounds of interviews. The first round of interviews consisted of all 24 candidates and were interviewed by a ‘professional panel that included the City of Hemet Public Works Director, Lake Hemet Municipal Water District Assistant General Manager/Chief Engineer, and City of Temecula Public Works Director/City Engineer’ per the staff report.”
And that “The pool of 24 was narrowed down to the final two candidates who were interviewed by ‘the City Manager and Community Development Director on March 23, 2017, at which time Derek Wieske was selected as the most highly-qualified and professionally prepared to excel in the role of Engineering Director/City Engineer for the City of Hemet.’”
The search is on for yet another replacement.

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