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Friday, Apr 18 2014 01:10 PM

Number of Salas' staffer resignations climbs to six

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    State Assemblyman Rudy Salas speaks in this file photo.

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

Six staffers have left the office of Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, since his election, a number that rose Friday when an assembly official confirmed the departure of someone previously thought to be still employed.

Salas -- a former staffer for state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, who also served as Bakersfield's first Latino councilman before ascending to the assembly -- has been in office 16 months.

He was elected in November 2012 and faces two Republicans in the June 3 primary. He is all but certain to finish in the top two and continue to the November general election.

The impact of the resignations on Salas' political future remains unclear, although in a Facebook post Wednesday that was later taken down, a former staffer's husband said he could " ... only think of one word ... Unethical ... ."

On Friday, a press aide for Salas again declined to comment on the departures.

In an email, Jon Waldie, chief administrative officer for the California State Assembly, confirmed the employment dates of Mayra A. Martinez, a fulltime field representative for Salas, who worked for him from Dec. 26, 2012 to April 11, 2014.

Martinez is the third Salas staffer to give notice this month.

District coordinator Willie Rivera, the Bakersfield councilman who is Salas' immediate successor and like him represents the southeast, joined the assemblyman's staff Nov. 1 and left Tuesday to begin another job immediately at the Corporation for Better Housing.

Rivera described his departure as amicable but Elva Lopez Martinez, a former Florez staffer and senior field representative for Salas who left Wednesday, lamented in an interview that while legislators may pass employment regulations, "They work their staffs to the bone."

Lopez Martinez declined to discuss her reasons for leaving 15 days after returning to work from a five-month stress leave.

A Salas employee told a reporter Thursday afternoon the assemblyman's Bakersfield office had just two staffers at work.

The three other staffers who have left are Veronica Marie Alarcon, an executive secretary who worked for Salas from Dec. 17, 2012 to Aug. 1, 2013; April Georgette Hernandez, a part-time field representative who worked for him from Feb. 1, 2013 to Nov. 5, 2013; and Chris Chamberlain, Salas' former district director, who worked for him from Dec. 3, 2012 to Oct. 17, 2013, when he resigned to become a teacher.

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