SAN BENITO — Brownsville’s former city attorney might be replacing Ricardo Morado as the city’s legal counsel.
Later today, city commissioners are expected to consider firing Morado and appointing Mark Sossi as interim city attorney.
Last month, Mayor Ben Gomez and commissioners requested the city seek qualifications from attorneys who would consider the job.
Yesterday, Commissioner Carol Lynn Sanchez stated she was opposed to the idea of firing Morado to hire Sossi.
“There is no legitimate reason to fire Rick that would outweigh the damage of losing someone that valuable,” Sanchez stated. “He has been a big part of many legal situations and is quick and well-informed to help jump at any issues. He is also at the core of many projects we have coming up. This could hurt us.”
Sanchez stated Morado helps commissioners with their legal questions.
“I’ve known him the length of my term but he has always done a great job,” Sanchez stated. “He was always well-informed and willing to explain anything I may have questions about.”
It is unclear why the city is considering replacing Morado.
Yesterday, Gomez, Villafranco and Commissioners Tony Gonzales and Rick Guerra did not respond to messages requesting comment.
Morado, a former city mayor, has served the city through much of his career, working two stints as city attorney.
“He was born in San Benito and I believe he truly has our city’s best interests at heart,” Sanchez stated.
Meanwhile, Sanchez questioned Sossi’s job experience.
“Sossi comes with a lot of baggage,” she stated. “That is definitely not the ‘new’ direction we should be heading.”
In August 2017, Brownsville city commissioners voted 4-2 to fire Sossi after he had served nine years as city attorney.
At the time, Commissioner Jessica Tetreau said the city was “restructuring” its legal department and moving in a new “direction.”
In San Benito, the proposal to replace Morado marks the second time the city has requested proposals from lawyers interested in the job.
Last year, commissioners supported Morado when then-Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez requested the city advertise for attorneys’ qualifications.
At the time, Commissioner Rene Villafranco said he believed Morado was doing a good job.
Meanwhile, Gomez, who had won election in May 2017, said he wanted more time to determine whether he would consider seeking proposals for Morado’s job.
Last month, Gonzales said he believed Morado was doing “a good job.”
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 President Bill Clinton’s nominee to replace U.S. District Judge Filemon Vela in 2000.
However, the nomination expired when Clinton left office in January 2001.
City attorney 1987-1989
City commissioner 1995-1997
City attorney 1998-2002
City attorney 2011-present