San Benito keeps city attorney

SAN BENITO — It looks like City Attorney Ricardo Morado has his job locked up.

Earlier this week, most city commissioners stood behind the former mayor-turned city attorney.

But it was the second time in about three months that Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez requested the city seek proposals from attorneys who could potentially replace Morado, who has served as city attorney for six years.

“All it is is a request for qualifications,” Rodriguez told commissioners at a meeting Tuesday.

Amid fiery debate, most commissioners stood by Morado.

“We went through this two months ago and here we go again,” Commissioner Rene Villafranco told Rodriguez.

Commissioner Carol Lynn Sanchez, as mayor pro tem, requested commissioners postpone action on Rodriguez’s request until Mayor Ben Gomez returned to take the gavel.

Gomez, who was absent Tuesday, had spoken up about the issue when Rodriguez made his first request for proposals for the city attorney’s job in June, Sanchez said.

At that time, Gomez, who had taken office the month before, said he wanted more time to determine whether he would consider looking for a new city attorney.

When Sanchez motioned to table the request, Rodriguez objected.

That’s when commissioners voted down Rodriguez’s request.

Morado, an attorney with the Brownsville firm of Roerig, Oliveira and Fisher, has served as city attorney since mid 2011, charging an hourly rate of $175.

Morado, who served as mayor from 1998 to 2002, previously served as city attorney from 1995 to 1997.

A San Benito native, Morado was former President Bill Clinton’s nominee to replace U.S. District Judge Filemon Vela in 2000. But the nomination expired when Clinton left office in January 2001.