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20130814 Martin Garza Mission City Manager JMB 0008 FEATUREMISSION—Five months after being appointed interim city manager, Martin Garza has been named city manager for the City of Mission.

Mission City Council removed “interim” from Garza’s title Monday in a unanimous, 5-0 vote and authorized Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas to negotiate the final terms of his contract. Compensation terms had not yet been finalized.

Garza was named interim city manager on Feb. 11 and assumed those duties March 1 when Julio Cerda left the post after eight years to begin his own engineering firm.

Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas spoke highly of Garza after Monday’s meeting.

“I really am very happy that he’s on board. He’s done an excellent job for us,” said the mayor. “I think we’re very lucky that he has accepted to come to work for us.”

Salinas stressed that Garza worked 21 years with Mission Police Department, becoming police chief before being tapped as interim city manager. The people know him and he knows the community. He was born and raised here, said Salinas.

“I’ve seen him work with the staff….He’s very serious and they respect him,” Salinas continued.

Asked how he feels about officially being named city manager, Garza said Tuesday, “I’m humbled and grateful to the council and the mayor for having confidence in me and trust. I’m looking forward to working with them in continuing to serve the citizens of Mission.”

Expressing how much he enjoyed being a public servant, Garza said his heart is in public service work.

“It’s all about public service. It’s all about our residents and our visitors who come to the City of Mission. It’s about providing professional service and good customer service.”

A Mission native, Garza served in the Mission Police Department for 21 years, beginning as a patrolman in 1991. He also served as an investigator where he rose to the rank of lieutenant, a supervisor for investigations for the special crimes unit, a Crime Stopper coordinator, internal affairs investigator, a public information officer and served three years as assistant police chief before being named police chief in April of last year.

When he was named interim city manager earlier this year, Garza said his career at the Police Department has given him the opportunity to be in different positions, learn the process of administration and serve the public.

Garza has a four-year degree from the University of Texas-Pan American in police administration, in addition to an associate degree in law enforcement from Laredo Junior College (now Laredo Community College).

“I’ve worked at the Police Department for almost 22 years, and I’ve enjoyed serving the public in that capacity, but I’m looking forward to serving the citizens of mission in the capacity as a city manager,” he said.

The City of Mission employs 620 personnel, with an annual General Fund budget of $38 million. The Mission Police Department has 205 employees, including 146 sworn police officers. Garza said when he started with the department in 1991, there were just 41 police officers and the starting pay for a rookie cop was $17,200.

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