Mercedes city manager honored for 30-year service

MERCEDES — A commitment to making Mercedes an even better place to live has been the key to Richard Garcia’s success as city manager.

“I’m glad to have made a difference in the city of Mercedes,” Garcia said.

Garcia was recognized at a private event held Saturday night at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show grounds to celebrate his 30 years of service to the city.

“I’m very humbled, honored and grateful to the community as a whole,” Garcia said.

He said it has been a rewarding experience to have helped the city through its ups and downs.

However, he did not fail to say part of his success over the past 30 years working for the city would not have been possible without the support of his staff, who work countless hours to make the city run.

“They are all the unsung heroes of the city of Mercedes,” Garcia said.

He walked into Mercedes City Hall in 1984 to work as an intern in the planning department while he was a college student at Pan American University.

“Then he became the planning director and moved up to city manager,” said Armando Lopez, Mercedes mayor pro-tem. “He has always exemplified hard work and commitment.”

Garcia was awarded a flag from the U.S. Capitol from U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa. And state Rep. Armando Martinez read his proclamation dedicated to Garcia’s service to the city.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Gov. Greg Abbott sent Garcia proclamations on their behalf to recognize and congratulate his work as a public servant to the city of Mercedes.

Garcia took over as interim city manager in 2002 and the City Commission offered him the job that same year.

“He’s put a lot of his lifetime serving the city of Mercedes,” Lopez said. “We have always been in the black and that is a sign of good management.”

Garcia was named the man of the year for the city of Mercedes in 2009 and was listed on the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame in 2011.

“Usually the tenure of a city manager is probably seven to nine years at most,” said Hernan Gonzalez, Mercedes Economic Development Corporation director. “If you look around, a lot of city managers don’t last that long in their position.”

Gonzalez called the job a difficult position to maintain and to do right.

“To have been raised in this community and to continue to serve this community through the ups and downs of this community speaks well to his dedication to Mercedes,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a great culmination of Richard’s career up to this point, and I’m sure he will be here for several more years.”