Mission names Mike Perez new city manager

dfwnewsa | March 19, 2024 | 0 | East Texas News , South Texas News

Mission names Mike Perez new city manager

MISSION — By a unanimous vote, the Mission City Council on Monday appointed longtime public administrator Mike Perez as Mission’s new city manager.

Perez comes to the city less than a week after Randy Perez announced — for the second time — his retirement. The two men are not related.

Randy Perez has worked as Mission’s top administrator since 2019, and has served the city in other capacities for a total of 19 years. His last day is expected to be March 31, Mission Mayor Norie Gonzalez Garza said last Thursday.

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“I don’t think we’re gonna miss a step and I’m sure he’s gonna hit the ground running and he’ll do well for the city,” Gonzalez Garza said of Mike Perez’s hiring after Monday night’s special meeting.

Indeed, just hours after his appointment, Mike Perez was already hard at work at Mission City Hall on Tuesday.

He attended a news conference regarding a police shooting, held a staff meeting, planned for an upcoming fiscal workshop with the city council, and met with the outgoing city manager.

“I’m excited about them hiring me as a city manager,” Mike Perez said Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve got a lot of things going on — both positive and some things that need addressing,” he added.

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Prior to coming to Mission, Mike Perez served more than 40 years as a city manager or assistant city manager in communities across the Rio Grande Valley.

He served as the McAllen city manager for 22 years working under Mayors Othal Brand Sr., Leo Montalvo and Richard F. Cortez.

In 2014, former Weslaco Mayor David Suarez brought Mike Perez in to clean house in the wake of a costly public corruption scandal involving the rehabilitation of Weslaco’s water and wastewater infrastructure.

That scandal cost Weslaco more than $40 million, including several million that went toward bribing certain public officials and construction companies.

Ultimately, in October 2022, a federal jury found a former Hidalgo County commissioner and a Weslaco businessman guilty of a combined 70 counts of bribery, money laundering and wire fraud.

Several other public officials pleaded guilty.

By the time he left Weslaco seven years later, the city was enjoying the highest credit rating in its history at AA-, while comfortably bankrolling dozens of drainage improvement projects, a new police and fire station, and a new public library.

The city also had a funding plan in place for another five years’ worth of improvements and equipment purchases.

The city of Mission City Hall on Jan. 26, 2022. (Delcia Lopez | dlopez@themonitor.com)

Now Mike Perez comes to a Mission that has recently been dealing with its own questions over finances — most notably, some $3 million in sales tax revenues that the city had, for months, failed to transfer to the Mission Economic Development Corporation.

Figuring out where Mission stands financially is his top priority, Mike Perez said, adding that he enjoys a challenge.

“I’ll be looking at some of the things that are very obvious that have been in the news and trying to figure out … how things are being done financially so that there’s a lot more transparency in how the city’s conducting business,” he said.

In the coming days, the new city manager plans to hold a workshop to determine what the council’s “goals and objectives” are for the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.

“One of the things that we have to take a look at is what do they want to have accomplished and then trying to work that into the budget,” Mike Perez said.

“By then, we’ll figure out where we stand. There’s a lot of questions about where we actually stand financially,” he reiterated.

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But Mike Perez has already cautioned the council that it will take time — not only to get a clear view of the city’s finances, but to start righting the ship.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be a quick fix,” he said.

To that end, the council approved a two-year contract for Mike Perez to helm the city at a rate of $300,000 per year.

Should the council change its mind, the city will be obligated to pay him a severance package of 30 days’ salary — a clause Perez specifically asked for, and one he admits may not be popular with other public administrators.

“(The city) appear(s) to have some tough financial issues and I think it’s unfair to say, ‘Give me six months or a year’s severance pay,’” Mike Perez said. “Pay me well and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.”

The post Mission names Mike Perez new city manager appeared first on MyRGV.com.

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