Edinburg begins city manager interviews

EDINBURG — The council here interviewed two candidates for the city manager post Wednesday afternoon and will meet with at least three more hopefuls Thursday.

At least 46 people applied for the city’s top post, according to candidate applications The Monitor obtained via a public information request.

The council appears to have narrowed that list down to five.

On Wednesday, councilmen met with Leonardo Olivares, a well-known local city manager with a legislative background, and Laure Morgan, a longtime employee of Hemphill, Texas, who has roots in Edinburg.

Olivares most recently worked as Palmview city manager for about two years, making about $150,000 per year. He also worked as Weslaco city manager for four years and spent another five years as city manager of Rio Grande City.

Olivares has ties to academia as well, having worked as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and at one point, serving as the UTRGV president’s assistant for governmental affairs. He also spent time in Austin and Washington D.C., working with state Sens. Carlos Truan, Eddie Lucio and Rodney Ellis, as well as U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland.

He earned a doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law, holds a masters in public administration from UTRGV and a bachelor of arts from the University of Texas.

Morgan is one of a handful of women who applied for the post. She is currently serving as city manager for Hemphill, Texas, a city in which she has worked for more than 25 years.

Morgan, who is currently earning about $87,000 per year, appears to have worked her way up through the ranks, previously working as an accountant, a utility billing clerk, city secretary and assistant city manager for the small city southeast of Nacogdoches.

Like Edinburg, Hemphill is the county seat, but the Sabine County municipality is much smaller compared to the South Texas city. Its population was less than 1,200 during the 2010 Census.

Morgan earned a masters of public administration from Stephen F. Austin State University and holds a bachelor of business administration from Texas A&M University. The Edinburg High School graduate also holds two municipal clerk certifications and is currently pursuing a public manager certification.

The council is set to meet once more Thursday at 4 p.m. to interview a second round of candidates.