Mission mayor retires as La Joya ISD safety director

After 44 years with the La Joya school district, Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña retired from his job with the district last week to devote himself to the city of Mission.

O’Caña’s last day as the district’s safety director was Friday, Aug. 30. The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce will be throwing a retirement breakfast in his honor at the Mission Event Center today.

Armando Ocana 2015“I will devote myself to the mayor ship full time,” O’Caña said. “I don’t know if that will give me the chance to develop any hobbies, being a mayor is a full time job.”

O’Caña began working for the district in 1975 as a math teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, principal, alternative center director, dropout prevention director before becoming the school safety director in 1999.

O’Caña’s retirement from his job comes after the district approved pay raises for all employees as part of its newly approved $396 million budget. O’Caña’s position, which he said earned him $112,000 over a three year period, was approved for a six percent pay raise he decided to walk away from.

“If I remained in La Joya I’d be earning as much as I’d earn with my retirement check,” O’Caña said.

The mayor’s retirement comes a few months after he reportedly applied for the district’s top job as superintendent. Interim Superintendent Gisela Saenz ended up with the position this past summer.

Despite working as public safety director while at one point serving three terms as city commissioner for the city of Mission, O’Caña said it was getting difficult to balance his duties as mayor with his full time job.

“There’s been a lot more activity since I became mayor with the growth Mission is experiencing,” O’Caña said. “I’ve created 16 new committees to help us develop the city more and gotten people to apply to those and been appointing people to these committees and maintain the ones we already had.”

This article originally appeared in the Friday Sept. 6, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.

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