Fred Bonewell, chief operating officer for San Antonio's CPS Energy, resigns following TV probe

click to enlarge CPS Energy's second in command has resigned, according to an email from the utility. - TWITTER / CPS ENERGY
Twitter / CPS Energy
CPS Energy's second in command has resigned, according to an email from the utility.
CPS Energy's chief operating officer, Fred Bonewell, has resigned effective Friday, San Antonio's municipal utility announced in a brief emailed statement.

The resignation comes a little more than a week after an investigation by KSAT news into an ethics complaint filed against Bonewell over an allegedly insensitive racial remark he said during a meeting. The story, based on internal documents, also alleged that Bonewell had "avoided formal discipline" after other work complaints.

"Bonewell was placed on administrative leave on October 11, 2021," CPS said in its emailed statement. "He respectfully resigned verbally, effective today, October 15, 2021, to pursue other opportunities."

The unsigned email added: "Because this is a personnel matter, no further comment will be provided."

CPS officials were unavailable for immediate comment, and Bonewell's home phone number was not accepting voicemail messages.

The resignation also comes as CPS prepares to make a case to city council for a proposed 10% rate increase, and as a recent poll shows its approval rating underwater with Bexar County voters.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, Bonewell's name and photo were no longer listed on the Executive Leadership page on CPS's website.

According to KSAT's report, in October 2018, when Bonewell was the utility's energy chief safety and security officer, he opened a morning meeting by asking, “Where are all of the Mexicans?”

A week later, an employee filed a complaint against Bonewell with CPS's Ethics and Compliance Hotline, the station reported, citing records it obtained from the utility.

Citing additional records, KSAT reported that Bonewell has been the subject of at least eight personnel complaints since January 2018. Five of those were later substantiated and resulted in ethics coaching or “direct conversations” with President and CEO Paula Gold Williams, a utility spokesperson told the station.

Bonewell was promoted this June to chief operating officer at CPS, the second-highest position in its corporate ranks.

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