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One staffer injured, three ousted from San Antonio River Authority

December 5, 2018

A supervisor at the San Antonio River Authority resigned, short of being fired, after he threw a large pipe at an employee last month, disfiguring the man’s nose, according to records.

Alfred Rakowitz, who worked at SARA for nine years, was found to have violated the “workplace violence policy” on Nov. 6.

Two other SARA employees — Clarence Kiolbassa and John Gomez — were later fired, according to Steven Schauer, SARA’s director of government and public affairs.

Officials declined to tell KSAT, which first reported Rakowitz’s resignation, the reason the two were fired, except that it was not because of the pipe-throwing incident. Kiolbassa was assistant maintenance supervisor and Gomez was the utilities manager, the station reported.

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According to agency records, Rakowitz was standing on a second-floor loft at SARA’s East Side facility. In trying to get the employee’s attention, he made some noise by banging the pipe, then yelled profanities. The employee walked toward Rakowitz and told him to address him by his name.

That’s when Rakowitz threw the PVC pipe at the employee, striking him on the bridge of his nose.

The employee went to a hospital and later told Bexar County sheriff’s deputies that Rakowitz had dislocated his nose, causing “permanent disfigurement,” according to the deputies’ report.

Rakowitz admitted that he was angry but said he did not intend to harm the employee. He said he was urging the other employees, who seemed to be ignoring him, to get to work and that he had “screwed up.”

“I was in the process of tossing the extension tube,” Rakowitz wrote later. “I said ‘Here,’ but he did not see it coming.”

The injured employee told Bruce Knott, SARA’s director of human resources, that Rakowitz had hit him once before and that he thought he was being treated unfairly compared with his co-workers.

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General Manager Suzanne Scott at first considered suspending Rakowitz without pay and requiring him to complete an anger management program. She later decided that termination was more appropriate, records show. His annual pay was $50,658.

Knott planned to fire Rakowitz on Nov. 12 but Rakowitz “came in early and turned in a resignation letter,” according to the records.

Rakowitz is named as a suspect in the Bexar County sheriff’s report about the incident. He has not been arrested or charged.

The injured employee told a sheriff’s deputy that he wants criminal charges filed against Rakowitz.

A Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said that the case is still being investigated and will be sent to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office within the month.

Another employee who witnessed the incident corroborated the injured man’s story. Go to Express-News.com to read what he said.

Emilie Eaton is a criminal justice reporter in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | eeaton@express-news.net | Twitter: @emilieeaton

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