Fallout follows Edinburg axings

Juan Guerra is seen during a press conference after being named as city manager of Edinburg on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 in Edinburg.

EDINBURG — The city manager agreed to walk away with a $250,000 severance package; in fact, he proposed it to the council, new city council majority leader Gilbert Enriquez said Thursday.

Former City Manager Juan Guerra was entitled to receive $500,000 if the council fired him before completing two years of employment, but instead, the new majority negotiated the lesser rate during their first meeting in power Wednesday.

“He proposed it,” Enriquez said about Guerra. “The agreement has already been executed.”

Guerra did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

His termination, and that of four others, drew criticism from Mayor Richard Molina, who warned Wednesday’s dismissals could cost the city even more money than initially reported.

“They’re going to have a bunch of money that they’re going to owe the two attorneys (they fired),” Molina said about former Edinburg Municipal Court Judges Armando M. Guerra and Agustin “Gus” Hernandez.

While the mayor could not recall the terms of the contracts for the two appointed judges, he believes there will be penalties attached to them.

Enriquez said he wasn’t aware of those agreements, but indicated they would be “strictly negotiated by the city attorney, the city manager or the mayor.”

“If that contract does exist and he negotiated that contract … then I would say to the public, ‘This guy doesn’t really know how to manage money or negotiate a contract,” Enriquez said about Molina. “Who would develop a contract with those stipulations for an appointed, temporary position?”

Molina, however, blasted Enriquez and his two allies — councilmen Homer Jasso Jr. and newly elected David White — for “wasting” taxpayer money by pushing Juan Guerra out.

“I’m very disappointed, once again, that they made a rushed decision to pay that enormous amount of money — plus the salary of another city manager, (who) as an interim is probably going to make close to this,” he said about Guerra’s replacement, former Edinburg City Manager Richard Hinojosa.

Hinojosa began his second stint as city manager on Thursday, according to information from Edinburg city spokeswoman Cary Zayas. His contract is still being negotiated and will likely be placed on the agenda for the upcoming Nov. 19 meeting.