Ibanez, Linn, Heath

California City Finance Director Diego Ibanez, far left, is shown in this July 30 file photo alongside interim City Manager Anna Linn and financial consultant Andy Heath. Ibanez was fired Tuesday afternoon, according to Linn.

CALIFORNIA CITY – After less than a year on the job, California City Finance Director Diego Ibanez has been fired.

“He was an at-will employee,” said interim City Manager Anna Linn on Wednesday. “The city is going in a different direction. We wish him the best.”

At-will employment is a term used in labor law for relationships in which an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason and without warning, as long as the reason is not illegal.

Ibanez has been something a lighting rod for public comments and complaints during council meetings in recent months. Many of the comments touched on his perceived inexperience and the city’s over-reliance on financial consultants.

Ibanez was hired in October 2018 and his first day on the job was Nov. 1, 2018.

The city is currently in the midst of an annual state audit and recently began meetings for the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget.

Ibanez’ firing is the latest shakeup at city hall. Former City Manager Bob Stockwell resigned  May 15 after being place on paid administrative leave. Public Works Director Craig Platt was placed on leave May 8 while an investigation into unspecified issues continued. At the time, City Attorney Christian Bettenenhausen said  the action was “entirely unrelated” to the suspension of Stockwell. Platt was formally dismissed in July.

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