Longtime city leader steps down: Former police chief takes over

LA FERIA — Longtime Commissioner Victor Gonzalez Jr. is making a change — he’s retiring from public service.

He stepped down from his post as city commissioner Place 3 because of his ongoing battle with health issues.

Gonzalez’s will be recognized for his contributions and work for the city on Thursday.

City officials have appointed long-time former city employee Donato Garcia to fill out the remainder of Gonzalez’s term as commissioner.

Garcia retired from his post as police chief for the city last June.

Garcia served as police chief for 15 years and worked for the department for 36 years.

He first joined the police department in 1989 and started as a patrol officer. In 2001, he was appointed chief of police.

Garcia took the oath of office earlier this week to succeed Gonzalez.

“I think he has the right heart for the job,” said Eric Hoff, city commissioner Place 2, about Garcia’s appointment. “He cares about the people.”

Hoff said Garcia was willing to give his time for the job.

“He’s definitely qualified and has a long history with the city,” Hoff said about Garcia.

But so had Gonzalez.

For nearly two decades Gonzalez helped lead the city of La Feria as an elected official.

He’s been involved in every major decision the city has had to make as an elected official.

Gonzalez was first elected as a city commissioner for Place 4 in 2000. He served four terms as commissioner until he was elected mayor in 2014. Last May he was elected as the Place 3 commissioner as an unopposed candidate.

Attempts to contact Gonzalez for a comment were unsuccessful.