San Benito leaders discuss city manager’s job

SAN BENITO — About 18 months after City Manager Manuel De La Rosa survived a push to fire him, commissioners were back behind closed doors to discuss his employment.

In front of City Hall, the meeting’s posted agenda called on commissioners “to deliberate … a personnel action relating to the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of the city manager.”

After closed-door discussions, Mayor Ben Gomez announced commissioners had taken no action on De La Rosa.

“I think he’s doing a great job,” Gomez said Wednesday. “I haven’t seen anything that tells me different. We’ve got new developments coming in.”

Gomez declined to disclose whether he called for the discussion.

“Sometimes we don’t see eye-to-eye,” Gomez said. “But we meet in the middle for the city.”

Commissioner Tony Gonzales, who pushed for De La Rosa’s firing in September 2018, said he didn’t call for the meeting.

But Gonzales doesn’t hide his long-standing rancor toward the city manager.

“He’s not doing great on my part,” Gonzales said. “But he’s got three commissioners on his side.”

Gonzales claims De La Rosa rarely responds to his concerns.

“Once in a while he does what I ask him to do,” he said.

Commissioner Rene Villafranco could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Carol Lynn Sanchez didn’t attend the meeting.

Job searching

For more than a year, De La Rosa has looked for another job.

In February, he lost a bid to land Edinburg’s city manager’s job, for which he was a finalist.

In January 2019, he fell short of taking Del Rio’s city manager’s job, for which he was the runner-up.

‘Above-average’ evaluations

Soon after taking the job here in December 2015, De La Rosa has counted on support from Gomez, Villafranco and Sanchez.

Meanwhile, his “above-average” job evaluations have automatically triggered annual $5,000 pay increases, based on his contract.