After serving 30 years with the city, the longtime city secret is moving on to retirement.
Delma Gonzalez served her last day on Dec. 20 and shared her excitement and sadness at leaving the place she has spent so much time.
“I have sincerely enjoyed my time with the City of Fort Stockton,” she said. “I will miss advising and assisting citizens and our close-knit city family for there is no better place to work. I wish the city and employees nothing but the best in the future.”
Gonzalez started out as a customer service representative on Oct. 16, 1989 where she worked in the front office and helped customers with their bills and concerns.
“That was the best job I ever had,” she said.
She remembers being offered the job by the then Director of Finance Ken Johnson.
“I learned so much from Ken and will forever treasure his knowledge, support and guidance provided by him while granting me the opportunity to assist with the cities various financial processes,” said Gonzalez.
After a little over seven years in the job, she was finally convinced to go for the city secretary position.
“I was intimidated by the job,” she said.
She was able to get certified and former mayor Joe Shuster sworn her in as city secretary.
“My kids encouraged me,” said Gonzalez. “I thought if I have my family supporting me what could hold me back.”
Former city manager Chuy Garcia and former city secretary Aurora U. Gutierrez helped guide her and convince her to take the position.
“I will forever be grateful to the Lord for granting me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and work with citizens,” she said.
She loved helping people whith zoning or planning or anything they needed.
“I've met a lot of good people in the community,” she said.
Before working at the city she worked at Stockton Feed and Milling which was fun for her.
“It was an awesome job to work out,” said Gonzalez.
She also worked at Southwest Savings Association.
While she is sad about leaving, she knows that it is just another chapter in her life.
She plans to travel with her husband of 44 years Jaime and visit her three kids and four grandkids.
Her children live in Washington D.C., Ed Couch, Texas and Colorado Springs.
Her husband retired in 2010 and told her that she would know when it was time to retire.
“He is always so supportive,” said Gonzalez.
City Manager Frank Rodriguez III said that when he became city manager,Delma was his mentor.
He would ask her questions about work related matter as it pertained to municipalities and she was a wealth of knowledge.
“City government has a lot of moving parts and Delma was very instrumental in ensuring we followed policy and ordinances,” said Rodriguez. “I know I will miss her dearly. She is a great person to work with and be around.”
Councilmember Pam Palileo shared the same sentiments about missing Gonzalez once she leaves.
“I don’t know if there is enough ink to print everything I could say about Delma,” she said. “Personally, going from the media side to the council side, Delma always showed absolute professionalism no matter what was needed. Her shoes are definitely big ones to fill. She has been the face of this city for a very long time and leaves a legacy few can attain. She will be incredibly missed by all of us.”
Council member Ruben Falcon, said that Gonzalez is a treasure to the city.
“She has that welcoming and friendly demeanor that you would want from every public servant,” he said. “I will miss her, we will all miss her and I wish her a long, happy and healthy retirement.”
Mayor Chris Alexander said that over the last nine years he has had the pleasure of getting to know and work with Gonzalez.
“Delma has always been a true professional at her job and takes to heart all she does for the council and the citizens of Fort Stockton,” he said. “She loves her work and this city. Her years of knowledge and experience are a rare commodity in this day and age of job hopping. Delma, you will be truly missed and I wish you the very best in all of yours and Jaime’s adventures to come.”
Gonzalez has been a staple in the community her entire life, according to council member Paul Casias shared.
“I have known Delma most of my life. I have always known Delma to be a kind and giving person,” he said.” “Until recently I had not had the opportunity to experience Delma as a professional. Delma's dedication to this community is second to none. Delma made me realize how important her role was to this community. Delma exemplified the true meaning of commitment and dedication. Delma will be sorely missed not only by Council, by by management and employees who relied on her daily.”
With Gonzalez leaving, her position has not been filled yet but they are going to be big shoes to fill.
“I just want to say is Thank you for thirty years of service,” said council member James Warnock. “The city is not only losing a great person in you Mrs Delma. But a true historian of codes and ordinances and a tremendous researcher of the history of the city of ft Stockton. Enjoy your retirement, may god bless you and your family.It’s truly my honor to have work with you.”