On Tuesday, July 30, the Fort Stockton City Council held a special session and accepted Jesse Gonzales, Jr.'s resignation as city attorney, clearing the way for him to start in his new role as Assistant City Manager.
A copy of the city's organization chart can be found by clicking on the "chart" link to the left.
Gonzales, who was earning $45,360 per year as city attorney, will receive $79,129.36 as assistant city manager. The previous assistant city manager, Shera Davis, made $79,919.84 in her role.
At the meeting, the city council also approved a RFQ (Request for Qualifications) to fill the City Attorney position. The closing date for applications is Aug. 13.
While the City Manager is able to make direct hires like the assistant city manger, the council will approve the hire for the next city attorney as it is considered professional services.
In the meantime, Rodriguez said the city said will use Texas Municipal League attorneys or find a local attorney as needed.
The assistant city manager position has been vacant since Rodriguez reassigned Shera Davis to another city role in the spring. Davis later resigned.
According to Rodriguez, Gonzales' last day as city attorney was Friday, July 26, while his first day as assistant city manager was Monday, July 29. Rodriguez said that Gonzales submitted his resignation as city attorney effective July 26.
During the media questions portion of Tuesday's meeting, The Pioneer asked about the timing of position change as the newspaper had received a letter regarding an open records request that was dated July 29 and which Gonzales signed as city attorney.
Rodriguez answered that Gonzales was not acting in two roles under a holdover provision allowing Gonzales to serve as city attorney until the city council officially accepted his resignation on Tuesday.
Gonzales was hired as city attorney in December 2017.
Gonzales' hiring as assistant city manager was announced through a press release sent out at 5:17 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24.
Rodriguez confirmed that the vacant positions for Assistant City Manager and Police Chief were posted on the Texas Muncipal League web site on July 12 – 12 days before Gonzales' hiring.
The chief of police position has not yet been filled.
Rodriguez said that 12 applications were received for the assistant city manager position, and eight candidates were interviewed. Rodriguez said, via e-mail, of the other four: "one applicant withdrew, one applicant accepted a job elsewhere, one applicant never responded, and one applicant did not qualify."
The Pioneer had previously confirmed through three sources with knowledge of local government that Rodriguez was planning to hire Gonzales as interim police chief while also remaining the city's attorney.
The Pioneer published a story online on July 6 reporting that Gonzales was being considered for the dual role, and that the council's agenda for its July 9 meeting included a closed-session item entitled “Deliberation regarding Duties of City Attorney Jesse Gonzales, Jr.”
The council did meet in closed session, but took no action on the item, nor commented on it upon its return to open session.