BY LAURIE LUCAS
STAFF WRITER
llucas@pe.com

Published: 31 October 2011 10:31 AM

Henry Garcia, the city manager of Moreno Valley, has fired two department heads.

Garcia said he dismissed Juris “Sonny” Morkus, human resources director, and Chris Vogt, public works director on Oct. 27.

The city hired Morkus in September 2010. His current salary is $164,944. Vogt joined the staff in May 2006. His current salary is $174,090. Both men are on paid administrative leave for 120 days.

Garcia said he has appointed Rick Hartmann, the city’s former deputy city manager, as the interim public works director, and Tom DeSantis as the interim human resources director.

DeSantis, a former Riverside assistant city manager, left that job a year ago amid controversy over the purchase of Police Department guns by him and former City Manager Brad Hudson and the use of untraceable license plates by top city officials, including DeSantis.

Garcia hired DeSantis this past spring as a consultant, paying him $28,000 from his discretionary funds to review the efficiency of several departments in Moreno Valley.

“What does talent have to do with people’s mistakes?” Garcia said of DeSantis’ previous job. “My confidence in Rick and Tom is very high.”

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