La Joya hires attorney with history of disciplinary problems as city administrator
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The La Joya City Commission hired Jacqueline Bazan, an attorney with a history of disciplinary problems, as city administrator on Tuesday.
Jacqueline “Jackie” Bazan, 43, of La Joya is the sister of La Joya City Attorney Kennedy Salinas and is married to businessman Jorge Bazan, who serves on the La Joya Housing Authority board.
After meeting with her for about 41 minutes, the City Commission voted 5-0 to make Jacqueline Bazan the city administrator.
“She has worked for other cities as well,” said City Commissioner Maria E. “Geny” Salinas. “And so, just her background in law and all that, I think that it’s something that’s really needed. Like a good structure to have everything run smoothly with so many projects that we have coming.”
The City Commission hired Jacqueline Bazan after interviewing four applicants.
Businessman John Pena, a disc jockey who heads the La Joya Housing Authority board and serves on the La Joya Economic Development Corp. board; police Chief Adolfo Arriaga and former Sullivan City Manager Juan Cedillo interviewed on June 27.
The City Commission held a special meeting at noon Tuesday, when members interviewed Jacqueline Bazan during executive session.
“First of all, I would like to thank all the applicants,” said Mayor Jose A. “Fito” Salinas. “We feel that they were very qualified applicants. We’re sorry that only one can be hired.”
Jacqueline Bazan said she moved to La Joya about seven years ago and applied for the job because she wanted to serve the community.
“I look forward to working with the community and City Commission to keep the city of La Joya growing,” Jacqueline Bazan said. “And to work hard on economic development and our city infrastructure.”
Jacqueline Bazan said she hadn’t signed an employment contract yet and didn’t know when, exactly, she would start work.
Her employment contract may become an issue during the mayoral election in November.
“We have a city attorney. We don’t need another attorney,” said Jaime Gaitan, a retired state trooper who is running for mayor. “We need a city manager.”
Jacqueline Bazan represented the city of Rio Grande City in lawsuits against Allied Waste Services of the Rio Grande Valley. During the past decade, however, she also had a series of disciplinary problems.
On Feb. 5, 2008, when Jacqueline Bazan went by Jacqueline R. Salinas, she was suspended from practicing in federal court.
“The District 12-B Grievance Committee found that Salinas neglected a property seizure case, failed to return the client’s file upon termination, and failed to respond to the grievance,” according to court records.
Along with a six-month suspension, the committee ordered her to pay $600 in restitution and $1,500 in attorney’s fees and expenses.
The committee disciplined her again on Sept. 24, 2008, when she was known as Jacqueline R. LeFevre.
“The District 12-B Grievance Committee found that LeFevre accepted a legal matter beyond her confidence, neglected the representation by failing to respond to a motion to dismiss and a motion for summary judgment, failed to communicate with her client, failed to render candid advice to her client, made misrepresentations to her client and failed to respond to the grievance timely,” according to court records.
She received a two-year, partially probated suspension.
The committee also disciplined her on Sept. 30, 2008, for failing to respond to two grievances. She was ordered to pay about $4,100 in attorney’s fees and expenses.
Then-Chief U.S. District Judge Hayden Head ordered her removed from the list of attorneys authorized to practice in the Southern District of Texas on Sept. 11, 2009.
Jacqueline Bazan also had problems with the State Bar of Texas.
In August 2018, the state bar determined that Jacqueline Bazan had violated the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and suspended her for three years.
“Respondent shall be actively suspended from the practice of law for a period of 4 months beginning October 1, 2018 and ending January 31, 2019,” according to an order released by the state bar. “The 32-month period of probated suspension shall begin on February 1, 2019 and shall end on September 30, 2021.”
Asked about her disciplinary history, Jacqueline Bazan declined to discuss the matter Tuesday and asked the Progress Times to submit questions in writing.
“It just baffles me, the stuff that they’re doing,” said Gaitan, the mayoral candidate. “And they just do it in front of everybody like they don’t really care.”