Edinburg EDC faces fallout from axing now-former director

EDINBURG — The new economic development board here is dealing with fallout from their decision to terminate former executive director Gus Garcia shortly after they took office in November.

Garcia recently sent a letter to the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) about his severance payment, EEDC board president Gilbert Enriquez said.

Details of Garcia’s demands remained unknown Thursday, but his last contract, forged in June 2017, stipulated he would be entitled to a year’s worth of pay if fired without cause, or two years’ worth if fired within 12 months of an election.

Garcia, who earned $160,000 annually, was terminated in late November — about three weeks after a contentious election changed the entire makeup of the board.

Garcia declined to comment Thursday and deferred all questions to his attorney, David Flores, who could not be reached for comment.

The Monitor is awaiting the EEDC to satisfy a public information request seeking a copy of Garcia’s letter.

EEDC board members discussed Garcia’s letter Tuesday during a regularly scheduled meeting, but took no action on the matter.

“That was just discussion,” Enriquez said.

Board members also interviewed six finalists vying for the vacant executive director position at Tuesday’s meeting.

Staff at the human resources department for the city of Edinburg received more than 50 applications from across the state, Enriquez said. Seven candidates were asked to attend Tuesday’s meeting, where board members interviewed six men behind closed doors during executive session. One of the seven candidates did not attend the meeting.

“One of the applicants wanted the EDC to pay for his travel, and we declined that,” Enriquez said. “If you are really interested in the position, you can make the expense to drive down for the interview. If not, you shouldn’t have applied. That’s my thought process.”

Board members were satisfied with the pool of applicants, and have since whittled it down to two finalists, the board president said. EEDC will meet once again next week to conduct a second round of interviews for both men.