San Benito commission to review fire chief job candidates

SAN BENITO – City commissioners are expected to meet with City Manager Manuel De La Rosa Tuesday to review candidates for the fire chief’s job about 10 months after he demoted former Chief Raul Zuniga to a captain’s rank.

The city has been advertising for the position on its website and with the Texas Municipal League since November, Yolanda Villafranca, the city’s human resources director, stated.

The job, which offers a salary starting at $60,000, requires a bachelor’s degree, preferably in fire services, fire administration, public or business administration, management or a related field.

However, 10 years of experience as a fire department captain would satisfy that requirement.

Since Sept. 17, Capt. Boris Esparza has served as the city’s interim fire chief.

In August, De La Rosa demoted Zuniga for bidding at a fire department auction, although a city ordinance did not prohibit the practice at the time. Last month, the city implemented an ordinance prohibiting the practice.

Later in the month, Zuniga, a 34-year department veteran, filed a lawsuit in state District Court, arguing the city did not have grounds to demote him.