Torres’ contract calls for him to receive 18 months’ pay at his salary rate of $131,000 per year, including benefits, city officials said. “It’s the worst time to remove” Torres, Vasquez said Thursday, “when he’s in the middle of working on 14 projects. I felt that he was doing an excellent job for the city. Why remove someone who’s doing their job? What’s the urgency?” Bagwell said he felt it was simply time for a change. “I like Richard, and I think he’s a good man. But we need to move forward,” Bagwell said. “I believe it’s time for a change, and every good organization needs change. The longer a person is there, it works against” the organization. Bagwell said a “quagmire” develops when people work too long in government positions. MONTEBELLO – City Council members have voted to sack long-time City Administrator Richard Torres from the job he held for 18 years. In a 3-2 closed-session vote that came late Wednesday near the end of the council’s meeting, Mayor Norma Lopez-Reid and council members Jeff Siccama and Bob Bagwell agreed to terminate the 51-year-old Torres, effective immediately. Rosie Vasquez and Bill Molinari vigorously opposed the decision. The two dissenters said that, among other things, the city cannot afford to pay both Torres’ severance package and the salary of a new city administrator. “Richard’s been there all his career and he’s got a lot of friendships,” he said. “When you move people around, you get better work. I wish him all the best.” Torres, who grew up in Montebello and lives near City Hall, expressed no anger or bitterness Thursday over his firing. “It’s been a privilege to serve my own community all these years,” he said. “I’ve done my best and I’m proud of the job I’ve done.” He said his immediate plans called for plenty of rest, he said. “I live three blocks away,” Torres said. “I’ll still be a member of the community, but in a different capacity.” Torres spent his entire professional career working for the city of Montebello. His first job after graduating from Occidental College with a degree in sociology was in the city’s finance department. After that, he served as assistant to the city administrator for three years, followed by two years as transportation director before landing the job of city administrator in 1989. Siccama said he hoped a new city administrator would bring “fresh blood” into the city’s decision-making. “I appreciate \ years of service for the city,” Siccama said. “But we need fresh leadership. The city’s been hemorrhaging money for years. We have to get out of that trend with new ideas.” firstname.lastname@example.org (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!