Santa Rosa city administrator position is terminated

    SANTA ROSA — The city has gone back to its old ways of operating City Hall.

    At a recent meeting that ended more than an hour after midnight, city aldermen decided to terminate the city administrator position.

    Chris Lopez, 38, from Raymondville, was hired as city administrator in December 2015 to help the city get out of a financial hole.

    He was let go during the July 20 regular city meeting and did not return.

    Lopez said he was paid a $58,000 salary and was an at-will employee.

    Lopez said the aldermen terminated him to use the city administrator budgeted funds to cover costs to repair a broken sewer line in the city.

    “They eliminated his position from the budget,” said Jared Hockema, Santa Rosa administrative consultant.

    Hockema said in the past the mayor would handle day-to-day administrative work and that is the plan for now.

    Hockema said the aldermen would rather spend the money to hire another water operator, and there are no plans to hire another city administrator.

    “The city is going from having a $300,000 deficit to having a projected surplus at the end of the 2015-2016 fiscal year,” Lopez said.

    Lopez said he led the way in purchasing a new city hall, negotiated with NASA to receive an X-35 space ship for a city park, brought in palm trees that were gifted to beautify the city, and purchased new vehicles for the police department.

    Lopez said since starting in December 2015 the city was moving forward and there was so much good happening in the city.

    “I was putting my heart and soul into running the city and getting things fixed,” Lopez said. “Every decision was made for the good of Santa Rosa.”