City employee sentenced to 5 years probation; Mayor Speaks out

Yuma

City employee sentenced to 5 years probation; Mayor Speaks out

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Yuma, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) "I don't think the punishment fits the crime," said Yuma Mayor Al Krieger.

The Mayor is outraged that a judge sentenced former city employee Hector Valenzuela to only five years of supervised probation and no jail time.

"I know it is expensive to incarcerate, but when you steal from the taxpayer I think you ought to do some jail time," Krieger said.

Valenzuela worked for the City of Yuma for 19 years before he was caught stealing equipment from the city.

Last October, police caught him red-handed with lawn mowers, garden hoses, fertilzer and fuel that belonged to the City.  

Valenzuela plead guilty to theft in April.

Mayor Krieger believes other city employees should also be held accountable.

"I'm absolutely sure that the checks and balances in that department were insufficient," Krieger said.

"It's hard to believe that in the year 2012, we didn't have sufficient accountability to prevent these kinds of things. I don't see our department head being held accountable," said Mayor Krieger.

Mayor Krieger says since Valenzuela got busted for stealing city-owned equipment, Yuma Parks and Recreation department has made changes to keep better track of its inventory.

Still, Krieger says Valenzuela's punishment does nothing to deter other City of Yuma employees from stealing equipment.

"Let the department chips fall where they may. If the department head hasn't been doing a good job overseeing his employees then there should be disciplinary action and I haven't seen that.

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