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San Benito’s De La Rosa finalist for Del Rio job

January 11, 2019

SAN BENITO — City Manager Manuel De La Rosa appears close to landing a new job.

Four months after surviving a push to fire him, De La Rosa is a finalist for the city manager’s job in Del Rio.

Last weekend, the Del Rio City Council selected De La Rosa and Mathew Wojnowski, assistant city manager of Altus, Okla., as the two finalists after reviewing 33 applications.

The Del Rio council is expected to hire the city’s next city manager Jan. 16.

Yesterday, De La Rosa said city commissioners here have not extended his current three-year contract, which runs through January 2020.

“ I know from experience that it can take from six months to a year to find a similar position in another city,” De La Rosa stated in a press release. “I will continue to work to the best of my ability for as long as I am contracted to serve the city of San Benito.”

De La Rosa stated he has worked with commissioners to improve the city.

“ As city manager, I truly enjoy my service to the city of San Benito,” he stated. “We, the city commission and city staff, have accomplished many beneficial projects over the past three years and have made the city stronger in the process. There are several significant new prospects on the city’s horizon that are currently in the works that we hope to accomplish in the near future. It is my sincere pleasure to be a lead partner in advocating on behalf of the city commission in moving these developments forward.”

De La Rosa added, “however, I recognize that I am in the last year of my employment contract, unless the city commission wishes to extend it.”

Mayor Ben Gomez and City Commissioners Rene Villafranco, Tony Gonzales, Carol Lynn Sanchez and Rick Guerra did not respond to messages requesting comment.

Past concerns

De La Rosa, who was hired here in late 2015, has been looking for a job amid commissioners’ waning support.

Gomez, Villafranco and Sanchez appear to support him.

However, Gonzales and Guerra called a meeting to discuss firing him this past September.

After a closed-door meeting, Gomez announced commissioners took no action.

During his tenure, commissioners have given De La Rosa “above-average” evaluations, which have triggered annual $5,000 pay increases.

How we got here

Last month, Gomez, Villafranco and Sanchez gave De La Rosa high marks on his job performance, leading to his annual raise.

However, at that time Gonzales said he was disappointed with De La Rosa’s job performance while Guerra did not respond to a message requesting comment on the city manager’s work.

In December 2015, De La Rosa was hired at a salary of $95,000.

After last month’s pay increase, his salary stands at $120,000.

De La Rosa’s salary lags behind the average salary of city managers of cities with populations similar to that of San Benito.

According to the Texas Municipal League, city managers in like-sized cities draw average salaries of $154,000.

fdelvalle@valleystar.com

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