After six months on the job Palmview’s city council has renewed its contract with interim City Manager Leonardo Olivares for another six months.
“The city council and I have the best interest of the community at heart, we want to keep doing what we’re doing,” Olivares said after the action during a special council meeting Tuesday.
With Mayor Pro-Tem Joselito Hernandez and Councilman Ricky Villarreal absent, the council voted 3-0 to extend the contract.
As negotiations for his contract occurred during executive session, Olivares said he couldn’t discuss the details saying only he and council members came to an “amicable” agreement.
Details on Olivares’ salary were not disclosed but the city’s fiscal year 2018 budget approved last month earmarked $105,796 as the city manager’s salary.
Olivares previously said he was offered $54,000 for his first six months with the city. He said the amount was based on Segovia’s $93,000 salary. Without providing details Olivares said his contract extension could see a pay adjustment. The city of approximately 6,000 residents passed its most recent budget containing a $5.8 million general fund balance.
Olivares was first appointed in April after previous city manager, Ramon Segovia, was placed on administrative leave and subsequently fired. Segovia’s leave was the result of a management review by a private consultant who concluded the city lacked proper policies and procedures. The consultant cited several departmental deficiencies such as a lack of proper human resource policies, job descriptions and hiring procedures. The report concluded the deficiencies were due to Segovia’s inexperience and recommended he, as well as Assistant City Manager David Nacianceno and City Secretary Bertha Garza, be fired.
Nacianceno resigned from his position shortly afterward and Garza and Segovia were fired. Segovia is currently suing the city for wrongful termination.
Olivares said his original contract was only for six months as he never intended to remain in a long-term capacity.
“I’m happy here but I feel like I should be in a larger community,” Olivares said after the meeting. “I am not planning on leaving the city in the immediate future as I want to see all the projects we’re working on come through, but at some point I will look at other communities.”
Since Olivares’s appointment, the city council has approved several resolutions and ordinances to ensure they are in compliance with the city charter, Olivares said. The city has also hired a new finance director and human resource director.
Last month, the city approved a 2.5 cent property tax increase and is gearing up for annexations on the city’s south side by year’s end.
City Councilwoman Linda Sarabia described Olivares as an important asset needed in the city.
“I feel very good at the direction the city is in,” she said of Olivares. “I like the structure he provides and he’s obviously very qualified. I know he has career aspirations and his income should be higher but ours is very limited. We’re appreciative of him settling for less than he’s used to.”