La Joya hires former RGC attorney to run city

LA JOYA — The city council here hired Jacqueline Bazan, the former city attorney for Rio Grande City, as its new city administrator following the retirement of Mike Alaniz last month.

Bazan, 43, is a graduate of Texas A&M University where she studied journalism and political science. She said she has managerial experience in different companies but declined to go into details.

It’s her communication and managerial skills that she felt made her right for the position.

“ Being a journalism major … so that’s something that was really important to them — communicating and transparency,” she said. “Not just with them as a city commission, with the employees in the city and with the county.”

Bazan is sister to Kennedy Salinas, the city attorney, and the wife of Jorge Bazan, a board commissioner for the La Joya Housing Authority.

La Joya Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas had said Monday that the city hoped to hire someone with knowledge of municipalities.

“ Especially the Urban County monies, the USDA programs and how to handle the personnel,” Salinas said. “We need somebody that can work on the budget.”

At the time, Salinas had declined to disclose who had applied for the position.

Bazan was selected among a pool of four candidates, which included city police chief Adolfo Arriaga, former Sullivan City Manager Juan Cedillo, and La Joya Housing Authority Board Chairman John Peña.

Bazan resigned as the city attorney for Rio Grande City in April 2017 citing medical reasons.

However, she had also been the subject of disciplinary action by the state, having been reprimanded by the state bar association several times.

One of her suspensions was because she failed to abide a client’s instructions concerning a lawsuit, according to a representative of the Texas State Bar’s disciplinary office.

She agreed to a partially probated suspension which is a combination of a period of active suspension, during which the attorney cannot practice law, and a period of probation.

As the city administrator for La Joya, Bazan said she wanted to focus on moving forward on the city’s economic development and infrastructure projects.

“ I know they have some projects related to old city hall, related to improve the swimming pool here locally, which we all know needs to get improved,” she said, noting upcoming street projects in certain subdivisions.

“ We need to keep everything going and moving forward with that,” she said. “Right now, we’re towards the end of our fiscal year — the city’s fiscal year ends at the end of September — so we need to close those projects or keep them moving and look forward to what we’re going to be working on in the next fiscal year.”

She said she looked forward to working in the city, which she said is expected to start next week.

“ I’m very honored to be a part of the city of La Joya administration,” Bazan said. “I’m very honored to get the opportunity to lead the administration as well.”