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20091103_20091106_County_RamirezEDINBURG — Nearly a year after accepting what he called a managerial role as the interim judge of Hidalgo County, Rene A. Ramirez announced he would step down from his position effective today at 5 p.m.

“There’s nothing you can accomplish in two months,” Ramirez said in an interview of the time remaining in his position as interim judge. “And to sit not working and collecting a check is just not me.”

Ramirez was selected by former Judge J.D. Salinas III last year to fill his spot when he accepted a federal position with the U.S. General Services Administration where he now serves as a regional administrator.

A former City of Edinburg councilmember, Ramirez most recently worked as the chief of staff for Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-20).

When he accepted the position as interim county judge, Ramirez said his job was supervisory and explained that he had no intensions of extending his stay at this level by running for office. At the time of his appointment, the only candidate running for office was former Judge Ramon Garcia who later went to on to regain his seat in the Democratic primary.

“I will never forget the experience,” Ramirez said Thursday. “The commissioners gave me an opportunity to work with the constituents.”

It’s time for the new administration to take over and begin their work, he added. Along with Judge-Elect Garcia, voters elected Mercedes Mayor Joel Quintanilla to be commissioner of Precinct 1 for the remaining two years of former Commissioner Sylvia Handy’s term. Precinct 1 Chief Administrator Joseph Palacios who won the Democratic primary for commissioner of Precinct 4 will join them in January.

Ramirez said he has spoken with commissioners about how to proceed in selecting his replacement where he’s recommended allowing Garcia to start working as judge.

“This is for the constituents to allow the new administration to get to work,” Ramirez explained.

During his short time as interim judge, Ramirez said he was proud of the work he’s done, citing the court’s largest fund balance in history and 2010 Census work as some of the biggest accomplishments. Additionally, Ramirez said he’s proud of the $83 million in funding granted to the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority for toll road financing.

“That’s history,” he said. “We’ve got a lot to be proud of, but we still have challenges.”

When asked about his future plans, Ramirez said he wanted to take time off to spend with his family and take them on a long-deserved family trip.

“I finally get to take my daughters to school everyday,” he said. “After a while, we’ll make a decision together.”

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