Sullivan City in search of new city manager

More than three years after the departure of their previous permanent city manager, the Sullivan City commissioners are in the process of hiring someone to officially fill the role.

The Sullivan city commissioners conducted interviews with candidates for the position on Monday, a position that has been filled on an interim basis since 2017.

Though it’s unclear which are in strong contention for the job, there were a total of six applicants including Ana M. Mercado, the city secretary for the city of Peñitas since March 2013, Steven E. Cruz, the public utilities director for Rio Grande City and Jesus R. Peña, the public works director for the city of Alton from 2018 until 2020.

Other applicants include:

  • Juan Mireles, formerly a research assistant at the University of Denver in Colorado from July to September 2018 who went on to intern at the U.S. Department of State from September to November 2018.
  • Malleny J. Guajardo of Sullivan City who was most recently a research assistant at George Washington University in Washington D.C. from June to August 2020. In July, she graduated from the University Texas Rio Grande Valley with a Master’s in public affairs.
  • Daniel Torres, from Mission, who previously worked at Transtar Autobody Technologies, a manufacturer of automotive paints and other products based in Brighton, Michigan. There, Torres said, he was the territory sales manager for the area that included Laredo to Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley.

He graduated in 2002 from the University of Texas-San Antonio with a Bachelor’s in business administration in economics.

Whoever is selected would be replacing former Sullivan City Manager Juan Cedillo who left the city in 2017.

Following Cedillo’s departure, the city commission appointed then-Police Chief Richard Ozuna as the interim city manager. Ozuna served in the role until March 2020 when he left to be the new police chief for the city of Alamo. At that point, City Secretary Veronica Gutierrez became the interim city manager.

It’s unclear when the city commissioners are expected to make a decision on the city manager position but, currently, there are only three members who will vote on the hiring including Mayor Leonel Garcia, Place 1 Commissioner Sylvia Castillo, and Place 2 Commissioner Julian Peña.

Early voting for the city’s special election to fill the vacant Place 3 and Place 4 seats on the commission is currently underway.