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Palmview cancels public relations contracts

The Palmview City Council decided to part ways Tuesday with two public relations consultants.

During a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the City Council agreed to stop paying $3,000 per month to KM International and $1,500 per month to MAP Entertainment Media for public relations.

The City Council agreed to stop paying the consultants after Palmview hired Irma Garza, who previously handled public relations for Harlingen and Edinburg.

“She’s got experience,” said Mayor Rick Villarreal. “She can do it.”

Garza accepted the job, a full-time position with a $70,000 annual salary, in September. While she may occasionally pay freelancers to assist with videos, Garza plans to do most of the public relations work herself.

“The pictures? I can take pictures,” Garza said. “Press releases, I can write. Social media, I can handle.”

Before she accepted the job, Palmview depended on consultants.

Palmview hired McAllen-based KM International, which is owned by public relations consultant Karina Cardoza, in July 2020.

KM International helped Palmview through the pandemic, said City Manager Michael Leo, and tackled everything from traditional news releases to social media posts.

“It’s Mike Robledo and Karina,” Villarreal said. “The one that we talk to more is Karina. She’s good — she’s good at what she does.”

Palmview paid $4,500 a month, according to documents released under the Texas Public Information Act. KM International reduced the monthly fee to $3,000 in March 2021.

After the city hired a full-time public relations professional, though, Palmview didn’t need the same range of services from KM International. Leo said the city asked if KM International would accept less, but the company wasn’t interested.

“They said anything less than that, even if we reduce the scope of work, it just wouldn’t be cost-efficient for them,” Leo said.

On Tuesday, the City Council asked Leo to approach KM International about working on an as-needed basis.

The City Council also doubled down on the decision to stop paying Palmview-based MAP Entertainment Media, which is owned by Marco Perez.

Palmview paid $1,500 a month to MAP Entertainment Media, but City Councilman Joel Garcia said he didn’t think the company actually did any work.

“What do you mean nothing was done?” said City Councilwoman Alexandra Flores.

“It wasn’t done,” Garcia said. “Nothing was done. I mean a picture for $1,500 a month? A video for $1,500 a month? That doesn’t make sense.”

Perez said MAP Entertainment Media did the work and called Garcia a liar.

“I found it kind of insulting to my work — and actually to the city too,” Perez said. “Lying to the public. You’re lying in a public meeting.”

MAP Entertainment Media took photos at city events, Perez said, and produced videos for social media.

Garcia may not know about the work MAP Entertainment Media did, Perez said, because he didn’t attend many of the city events.

“I’m from Palmview,” Perez said. “It was great helping them out and promoting my city, where I’ve lived all of my life.”

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