In a potential conflict of interest, legal counsel for the proposed Dilley city administrator contract will be provided by the city attorney who also represented the city administrator in a $50,000 personal dispute that resulted in a currently pending lawsuit…
At a city council meeting scheduled less than two weeks before the start of early voting, the city of Dilley will discuss and consider “contract for city administrator” in an executive session, then potentially “take action” in the following open session.
The city administrator position held by Rudy Alvarez has been embattled from the start.
THE VOTE TO HIRE
At the initial administrator hiring meeting on June 13, 2017, Dilley’s city council reconvened in open session after privately interviewing city administrator applicants. Councilman Ray Aranda opened the session with a motion to hire Rudy Alvarez, knowing that Alvarez did not yet have the support of the other councilmen.
“May I move that we hire Rudy Alvarez at a starting salary of $70,000?” Aranda said.
It was a move that would force the other councilmen to vote with or against the popular local figure. However, the motion to hire Alvarez descended into confusion when no one seconded Aranda’s motion. Mayor Obregon mistakenly asked for opposition to the motion before the city secretary clarified that the motion was dead.
The first motion to hire Rudy Alvarez as city administrator on June 27, 2017, 1 minute
The council then voted, 4-1, to hire an administrator from San Antonio.
For reasons that were never disclosed in open session of city council meetings, the hire did not take the job. Rudy Alvarez would get another chance.
It would take two more meetings for Alvarez to claim the city administrator position, first 3-2 in favor of re-advertising, and then finally, Alvarez was hired 3-2 with Ray Aranda, Morelsa Aranda, and Esmeralda Cano in favor.
As chief budget officer, Alvarez released a proposed budget that left $80,000 of projected revenue out of the $500,000 general fund. He was largely given a pass due to his delayed hiring process and after a fiscal victory at the county commissioners court.
After a personnel move regarding the city’s wastewater operator in September 2017, Alvarez was party to a disputed resignation/firing that is now the subject of a lawsuit.
In November 2017, Alvarez pushed the debunked notion that overpopulation at the Dolph Briscoe prison was driving sewage overages as much as double the permitted allotment. Certain city officials argued that only a new $7 million dollar wastewater plant exclusively for the prison could effectively solve the problem.
As questions from the community continued to mount, construction was never initiated.
And according to Alvarez in a March 2018 meeting, those sewage overages are now largely under control even though, conspicuously, no new wastewater treatment plant has been built.
The subject of Alvarez’s job performance as city administrator has only been brought up once: at the end of his ninety day evaluation period. Clearly, the council approved of Alvarez enough to hire him with full benefits, so it is unclear where the sudden need for a contract arose.
However, it would take an act of willful ignorance to overlook the fact that the three council members that voted to hire Rudy Alvarez are also all of the council members up for re-election with early voting only two weeks away. Also, all three of them and the mayor have previously served with Alvarez when he was a Dilley councilman.
A contract, depending on the finalized language, could entitle Alvarez to a payout if the city council decided to remove him.
EXECUTIVE SESSION AND THE CITY ATTORNEY
Discussion about a “contract for the city administrator” will take place in private session, as required by the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Also by Texas law, this contract agenda item must be about Rudy Alvarez specifically, because a deliberation about city administrator contracts in general would have to be held in open session.
Governmental bodies hold executive session to consult with their attorneys, in this case, Bobby Maldonado…
In August of 2008, Rudy Alvarez as city councilman voted to hire Bobby Maldonado as Dilley’s city attorney.
As recently as January 2017, Rudy Alvarez and Bobby Maldonado both served the city of Pearsall, Alvarez as financial administrator, Maldonado as city attorney.
During that time as representatives of Pearsall, Rudy Alvarez solicited the services of Bobby Maldonado in a personal matter. In a dispute over an alleged breach of contract from a home improvement contractor, Maldonado’s law firm sent letters in an attempt to recover $50,000 in damages. A lawsuit was finally filed by a second law firm (with the same address as Maldonado’s law firm address at the time) in December 2017 at Frio District Court. The lawsuit is still pending.
And at the next meeting, Maldonado is scheduled to provide legal counsel to the city of Dilley regarding Alvarez’s potential city administrator contract…
The city council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday April 10 at 6:30pm.
–written by Jose Asuncion.
Jose received an MFA from University of Southern California in 2008, a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2003, and currently lives in Dilley, TX, home of his grandparents.