Edinburg EDC could be managed by city

EDINBURG — The council here will vote Tuesday whether it should make the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation a department under the direction of the city.

Currently, the economic development corporation (EDC) operates as a nonprofit, separate from the city. Its decisions are guided by a board of directors and carried out by an executive director and their staff.

On Tuesday, however, the council will consider making it a city department under the direction of an assistant city manager focused on economic development, among other city business.

The EDC is currently at a crossroads. There is no executive director and there is only one employee. The city council serves as its board of directors and the city manager, Ron Garza, acts as the interim director.

The EDC recently accepted applications for the executive director position during two separate rounds of employment searches. So it’s unclear if the applicants would be automatically considered for the assistant city manager post or if the city would be forced to advertise the position again, should the council vote to make it a department of the city.

Edinburg council members will also consider appointing a new EDC board, and there are plenty of Edinburg residents and business owners lined up ready to serve. Twenty-four interested parties have submitted applications to be considered, according to information on the meeting’s agenda packet.

The applicants come from diverse backgrounds, as the board is supposed to be composed of a variety of professionals in different industries. According to its bylaws, the board should include four private sector professionals, one person representing a small business, one person representing educational institutions and one person representing community organizations.

Former state Rep. Veronica Gonzales, who now serves as vice president of governmental and community relations at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and former Edinburg Public Works Director Ponciano Longoria, who is now with TEDSI Infrastructure Group Inc., are among the applicants.

Others who’ve applied include Hidalgo County Democratic Chair Norma Ramirez, who is also president and CEO of Sunny Produce LLC and a former EDC board member; Hiren Govind, COO of Qube Hotel Group, which manages the TownePlace Suites by Marriott and Best Western PLUS in Edinburg; Dr. Fernando Chapa, dean of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at South Texas College; and Aaron Rivera, of Rivera Funeral Home.

Josue “Josh” Vasquez, Workforce Solutions Lower Rio Workforce Board; Edna Pena, founding member of the Edinburg Arts Foundation and CEO of AMA Development; Robert Montelongo, project coordinator and planner at Koch Specialty Plant Services; Richard Mark Garcia, of Hidalgo County Drainage District No.1; and Moises Segovia, of Lifer Star EMS, have applied as well.

Additional applicants are Daniel Antonio Diaz, owner of Medical & Trauma Specialists LP, EMS; John Jett, of Jett Financial Group LLC; Frank Lara, Social Media Manager Company; Roland Gomez, city of Pharr assistant development director; Daniel Treviño, of Hydropro Solutions; Sabrina Walker Hernandez, of Supporting World Hope; Michael Anthony Kent, of F&T Valley Motor Sports LLC; Jeffery Alvarado, dentist at the Lakes Family Dental; Dalia Buss, of Buss Mechanical Service LLC; Savannah Gonzalez, Law Office of Savannah Gonzalez; Agustin Hernandez, Jr., of the Hernandez Law Group; Michael J. Williamson, executive vice president of commercial lending at Texas National Bank; and Dora Zamora-Flores, GOAL Pediatric Healthy Weight Program.