Avondale City Council votes to fire City Manager Charles A. Montoya

Dec 28, 2021, 10:23 AM | Updated: 1:13 pm
The Avondale City Council voted to terminate the employment of City Manager Charles A. Montoya, lef...
The Avondale City Council voted to terminate the employment of City Manager Charles A. Montoya, left, on Dec. 23, 2021. Assistant City Manager Cherlene Penilla was appointed to serve as acting city manager. (City of Avondale Photos)
(City of Avondale Photos)

PHOENIX – The Avondale City Council voted unanimously last week to fire City Manager Charles A. Montoya with cause over unspecified conduct.

The West Valley suburb’s mayor and councilmembers received legal advice during a closed-door executive session on Wednesday and voted to terminate Montoya’s employment during a special meeting the next day.

“The action we took was done in the best interests of the city organization and the residents we serve,” Mayor Kenn Weise said in a press release.

The details about Montoya’s conduct were not revealed during the public meeting or in agenda items.

The City Council was advised there was cause to fire Montoya under the following two subsections of the employment agreement, according to Thursday’s meeting report:

  • Either in his personal or professional capacity, severely damaged the reputation of the City or the City Council or otherwise substantially impaired the City’s ability to maintain or attract businesses.
  • Caused or allowed any practice activity decision or organizational circumstance which is either illegal, immoral, imprudent or in violation of the ICMA Code of Ethics.

ICMA is a professional group for city and county managers.

Montoya, who was hired in July 2018, was placed on administrative leave while the City Attorney’s Office moves ahead with the termination process.

Assistant City Manager Cherlene Penilla was appointed as acting city manager and will oversee day-to-day municipal operations until a permanent replacement is hired. Penilla has worked for the city for nearly 20 years.

“The Council and I are confident that the organization is in the capable hands of a professional team, and that the operations of the city will continue to run smoothly,” Weise said.

Avondale’s government now has two openings to fill heading into the new year.

Earlier this month, Councilmember Pat Dennis resigned effective Jan. 3 for personal reasons.

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Avondale City Council votes to fire City Manager Charles A. Montoya