15 apply for city manager in Mercedes

MERCEDES — Fifteen men applied to lead City Hall with applications coming in from Brownsville to Temple, Texas.

Interim City Manager Sergio Zavala said he will again review the city manager applications. Zavala did not apply for the position.

Applicants with prior city management experience include: former Donna City Manager Oscar Ramirez, former South Padre Island City Manager William DiLibero, former Alice City Manager Andy L. Joslin, former Rio Grande City Manager Juan F. Zuniga, former San Benito City Manager Arturo “Art” Rodriguez and former city manager of Sullivan City Juan Cedillo.

Former Assistant County Administrator for Ford County in Kansas Sammy J. Ragsdale also applied for the job.

Other applicants include: Former Donna Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Lyle Garza; John Schwartz, a professor; Bert Garcia, a director of consumer finance; Jason Shaffer, a professor and teacher; Arvin R. Tucker, an auditor; Jose Castillo, an accounting instructor; Marco Mancillas, a government relations senior vice president with the United States Hispanic Contractors Association; and Joan A. Rodriguez, who has a doctor of medicine in dentistry from Instituto Odontologico de Matamoros.

Applications for city manager are reviewed internally every month.

Zavala took on the role of interim city manager in September when commissioners voted to oust then-City Manager Daniel Tijernia whose tenure lasted two months.

The city manager oversees the city’s budget along with providing administrative direction within city hall, among other responsibilities.

The city seeks a city manager with grant application experience and management skills who also has knowledge of city management, planning and development, according to a job notice posted on its website.

Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business administration or finance. The potential city manager should have at least seven years experience in an administrative role within local government.

Prior to firing Tijerina, commissioners suspended longtime City Manager Richard Garcia in March 2017. He then retired and filed a lawsuit against the city alleging defamation, conspiracy and violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. The lawsuit remains unresolved in district court.

The City Commission will interview applicants, should any of the 15 qualify, Zavala said.

As of Monday, commissioners had not conducted interviews for the city manager position.

“The City Commission will be very careful with regard to whom they engage,” Zavala said of the search.