It appears Chandler City Councilman Martin Sepulveda will return to civilian duty later this month.
But that may not be good news for City Manager Mark Pentz.
In e-mails earlier this month, Sepulveda criticized Pentz’s handling of the city’s gas-to-energy program and has asked that Pentz’s ongoing annual review be put on hold until his return.
Sepulveda, a Navy reservist, has been on active military duty in Iraq since late July.
It is not clear when Sepulveda will return to Chandler, though he said he expected to leave Iraq in mid-February.
Most recently, he has criticized the handling of the city’s gas-to-energy program at the now-closed Chandler landfill.
The facility is designed to convert methane gas given off by rotting garbage.
The program was called to question in December when officials disclosed it was not working properly.
“Your oversight on several issues has been disappointing, but given the political nature and bias, not at all surprising,” Sepulveda said in an e-mail to Pentz.
Pentz just completed his first year as city manager and his review has been put on hold at Sepulveda’s request until he returns later this month.
Councilwoman Donna Wallace said Sepulveda plans to return to his seat either in person or by phone at the council’s meeting Thursday.
Wallace declined to comment on Pentz’s performance, but did say she’s been disappointed in how the gasto-energy program has been handled and has expressed her frustration more than once during public meetings.
Pentz was unavailable for comment Friday. In an email to Sepulveda, however, Pentz disagreed with the councilman’s contention that the program hasn’t been successful.
“I believe it is more accurate to say that the program has not been as successful as we were told it was going to be,” Pentz stated.