City plans top-level job evaluations

HARLINGEN — The city’s top administrator is going under review.

Tomorrow, city commissioners are expected meet in closed session to assess City Manager Dan Serna’s job performance as part of his annual evaluation.

In the same closed-door meeting, commissioners are also expected to evaluate the job performances of Auditor Danny Coyle and City Attorney Ricardo Navarro and his law firm.

Last year, a good evaluation led to a $15,000 raise for Serna, whose annual salary is now at $195,000, Efren Fernandez, the city’s human resources director, said yesterday.

In November 2015, commissioners appointed Serna city manager, setting his salary at $180,000.

This year, Serna helped lead the city to launch the $16.7 million effort to build the convention center. Construction is expected to be completed next September.

Meanwhile, Serna helped the developers MRE Capital on its successful effort to land $3.3 million in federal tax credits in the $4.5 million project to renovate the 90-year-old Baxter Building into a largely low-income apartment development.

The project aims to restore the nine-story building, blamed for holding back the city’s downtown revitalization, to its original condition.

Serna, who had previously served as an assistant city manager for external affairs, had climbed the ranks after about 28 years with the city.

Coyle’s evaluation also marks his second year on the job.

Hired in October 2015 at a salary of $65,000, last year’s evaluation led to a $10,000 increase, boosting Coyle’s salary to $75,000, Fernandez said.

Coyle had previously served as finance director with the city of San Benito.

The evaluation marks the first for Navarro and his firm Denton, Navarro, Rocha, Bernal, Hyde & Zech.

Last November, commissioners contracted with Navarro and his firm to take over the duties of city attorney.

Navarro, whose partner Alan Ozuna serves as city attorney during most city commission meetings, is charging the city a rate of $195 an hour.

The firm also performs the services of Municipal Court prosecutor while handling collective bargaining, civil service, labor matters and real estate issues.

Harlingen Administrators profiles

Dan Serna

– City manager

– Two years on the job

– $195,000

Danny Coyle

– Auditor

– Two years on the job

– $75,000

Ricardo Navarro

– City Attorney

– One year on the job

– $195 hourly fee