Pharr mayor addresses city manager’s possible exit

PHARR — A day before Pharr City Manager Juan Guerra interviewed with Brownsville city commissioners for the same job there, one of Guerra’s current bosses, Pharr’s mayor, encouraged employees to chase their dreams.

Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez wants to promote his employees, he said during Monday’s city commission meeting. If that means striving to become Brownsville city manager, by all means.

Guerra, city manager in Pharr since August 2015, is one of three finalists for the Brownsville city manager post. On Monday, the same day Guerra interviewed with Brownsville city commissioners in private session, Hernandez addressed Guerra’s prospects.

“We understand that Mr. Guerra’s looking for greener pastures, not because he’s not happy, he’s actually very delighted,” Hernandez said. “He’s not gotten the job yet, first and foremost, but we support him as a commission, if that’s what he wants to do.”

Guerra told The Brownsville Herald on Monday that he had always wanted to live in Brownsville, calling it one of the premier cities in Texas. Meanwhile, one public commenter at Monday’s Pharr commission meeting took a couple jabs at Guerra, adding, “I don’t think we’ll miss him that much.”

This isn’t the first city manager from this part of the Rio Grande Valley to show interest in the Brownsville position. McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez was on the brink of leaving McAllen in July, when he was a finalist for the Brownsville job. But McAllen city commissioners gave Rodriguez a $25,000 raise on the condition that Rodriguez withdraw himself from consideration in Brownsville, which he did.

Rodriguez was making just over $250,000 before the raise, and is now making north of $275,000. Guerra makes $225,000 as Pharr city manager.

Hernandez, however, wanted to set the record straight about Pharr employees potentially having interest in other jobs.

“We are very proud of our administration as a whole, and if an opportunity presents itself for you guys to move on and grow your professional career, we absolutely will support it,” Hernandez said on Monday, with most of the city department directors on hand, as they normally are at commission meetings.

Hernandez added, “We’re not here to hold you down, we’re here to promote you, make sure you go and be all that you can be. This is America, it’s a free country and you should pursue your dreams.”