Select Page
Change is positive, says City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr., who assures citizens that many of Edinburg’s successes result from the leadership of the Mayor, City Council, EEDC Board of Directors

From left: Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr; City Councilmember J.R. Bentancourt; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Councilmember Richard Molina; Víctor G. Guerra, General Counsel, Pathfinder Public Affairs; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; and Jesse Ozuna, Chief Administrator, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Joseph Palacios. These South Texas leaders met in advance of a legislative reception recognizing Tuesday, February 10, 2015 as Rio Grande Valley Day at the Texas Capitol.
Photograph By DIEGO REYNA

The recent announcement by longtime Edinburg city manager Ramiro Garza, Jr. that he will end his public career with the City of Edinburg at the end of December 2015 may have caught area residents by surprise. After all, during what will wind up being an almost 16-year tenure as one of the city’s top appointed leaders, Garza, 41, has been a key and visible figure in the social and economic development of Edinburg. The Port Isabel native, with academic pedigrees that include a Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance and a Master of Business Administration, Business Administration and Management, General, both from the University of Texas at Brownsville, first came to Edinburg in September 2000 to take the reigns as executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr., is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. Following a successful nine years, three months on the job with the EEDC, Garza, now married with children, was tapped as the city manager for Edinburg in November 2009. With the exception of a six-month leave-of-absence from December 2011 to May 2012 for his first entry into seeking elected office (for Congress, no less), Garza has been the leader of the 700-member city staff, which helps him manage the city’s $100 million annual operational budget. Garza said he was humbled and appreciative for the show of confidence over the years from the mayor and city council. “I am very, very grateful. It has been such an honor and a privilege to serve on the EEDC and then as city manager. When you have that kind of support, it is incomparable. It allows you to go out there and do all you can to help improve the city,” Garza said. “I or any of our staffs would not be able to do what we do without their unwavering support. They set the policies, they have high expectations. Throughout the different administrations, they have been great leaders.” Ever the diplomat, Garza saved high praise for the city and its residents who have helped him succeed. “Edinburg is a very welcoming community. I was made to feel like I was part of the families here, and it allowed me to work with some fine individuals over the course of the past 15 years,” Garza said. “The same open arms that I received, that is how other people are received in Edinburg. You see that with new residents, new businesses, they are made to feel part of the community. Those are some of the reflections I have of Edinburg.” Garza hopes that his successor will enjoy the same blessings that have highlighted Garza’s role as one of the longest-serving city manager’s in Edinburg history. “There is this hunger in Edinburg to bring new opportunities, more shopping, more restaurants, industrial development. It shows in what has happened in the past two years. Over the past 10 years, our assessed values have grown over the last decade. There has been been more than one million square feet of new retail in Edinburg, hundreds of new homes where people can have choices on where to live,” Garzas said. “I was very lucky to have been part of that.” As for offering any advice to his successor, Garza said the best is yet to come. “Edinburg is at the cusp of undergoing another period of important growth, with the new university and the new medical school. There are still challenges of not being able to improve the community in every way we would like to. It’s about building on the strong momentum that we have,” Garza said. “Whoever is going to come in, have an open mind, and roll up their sleeves and work hard with the elected leadership, and anything can be done.”

••••••

Change is positive, says City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr., who assures citizens that many of Edinburg’s successes result from the leadership of the Mayor, City Council, EEDC Board of Directors

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – President John F. Kennedy

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

The recent announcement by longtime Edinburg city manager Ramiro Garza, Jr. that he will end his public career with the City of Edinburg at the end of December 2015 may have caught area residents by surprise.

After all, during what will wind up being an almost 16-year tenure as one of the city’s top appointed leaders, Garza, 41, has been a key and visible figure in the social and economic development of Edinburg.

The Port Isabel native, with academic pedigrees that include a Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance and a Master of Business Administration, Business Administration and Management, General, both from the University of Texas at Brownsville, first came to Edinburg in September 2000 to take the reigns as executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr., is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg City Council.

The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members.

Following a successful nine years and three months on the job with the EEDC, Garza, now married with children, was tapped as the city manager for Edinburg in November 2009.

With the exception of a six-month leave-of-absence from December 2011 to May 2012 for his first entry into seeking elected office (for Congress, no less), Garza has been the leader of the 700-member city staff, which helps him manage the city’s $100 million annual operational budget.

COUNCILMEMBER MOLINA: “WE HAVE NOTHING BUT RESPECT FOR RAMIRO”

As if his day-to-day duties aren’t enough, Garza has excelled beyond his city management responsibilities, prompting Councilmember Richard Molina, during a Wednesday, September 9 city council meeting, to put Garza’s impact on a regional perspective.

“I’ve always seen Ramiro as a very ambitious person. He ran for Congress, so that lets you know that he sets the bar very, very high,” Molina noted. “A lot of the other city managers from the Valley and South Texas look up to Ramiro. We have nothing but respect for Ramiro Garza.”

Mayor Richard García, on Tuesday, September 8, in officially informing the public about Garza’s decision to leave for the private sector, called the city manager’s pending departure “a great loss to the city.

“I am very sad about his leaving. I understand that everyone has to move on and better themselves. We are very grateful to him for all he has done for the City of Edinburg,” García continued. “His level of work that he brought to this city is incomparable to other cities, and certainly to Edinburg’s history.”

Mayor Pro Tem Homer Jasso, Jr. said Garza’s credentials built while working for the EEDC and the city government are praiseworthy.

“Ramiro is a visible symbol of the high standards of professionalism, integrity, hard work, and accomplishment for which the people of Edinburg proudly require of themselves,” Jasso observed. “He will be the first one to tell you that our citizens are who make Edinburg the success story that is has become.”

Garza has served in leadership roles with the Texas Economic Development Council, Texas Workforce Solutions, the Interstate 69 State Advisory Committee, the Women’s Business Center, the Texas Lyceum Organization, with the Rio South Texas Economic Council, and as a liaison with the University of Texas System to help bring the UT-Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine on behalf of Hidalgo County.

CITY MANAGER: “I’M ASKED, ‘WHAT’S THE SECRET?’”

Garza does indeed share Jasso’s assessment of the invaluable contributions of the city’s residents to the long list of achievements in Edinburg, ranging from reaching record-breaking levels in new residential and business construction to bring a University of Texas medical school to the community – an almost unheard accomplishment for a city with a population of fewer than 100,000 residents.

“I’m asked what is the secret? I tell them it is not about one individual, it’s collectively. Everyone has a strong desire to improve our community, and are willing to do anything it takes, and that makes my job easier,” Garza said.

One of the reasons Garza plans on leaving the city manager post is for the opportunity of spending more time with his family, an option that will be easier to achieve when he sets up his own business, said Councilmember J.R. Betancourt.

“It’s a very demanding job, that’s a lot of pressure for a city manager — but I also see that he has young kids, like I do, and the time away from them you could see was taking a toll,” Betancourt told The Monitor in McAllen.

Councilmember David Torres, who along with his wife, Ellie M. Torres, herself an elected official with the Edinburg school board (she also serves on the EEDC Board of Directors), said he admires Garza’s decision to set up his own business.

This is my rookie year (he was elected in May 2015), and I want to make it known that you have done a great job, and the doors are always open for you in whatever capacity,” said Torres. “As an entrepreneur, I know how it is to take a leap of faith. I know you will be very successful, because you are a good man. You have done a good job.”

Garza said he was humbled and appreciative for the show of confidence over the years from the mayor and city council.

“I am very, very grateful. It has been such an honor and a privilege to serve on the EEDC and then as city manager. When you have that kind of support, it is incomparable. It allows you to go out there and do all you can to help improve the city,” Garza said. “I or any of our staffs would not be able to do what we do without their unwavering support. They set the policies, they have high expectations. Throughout the different administrations, they have been great leaders.”

POWER OF THE PEOPLE

Ever the diplomat, Garza saved high praise for the city and its residents who have helped him succeed.

“Edinburg is a very welcoming community. I was made to feel like I was part of the families here, and it allowed me to work with some fine individuals over the course of the past 15 years,” Garza said. “The same open arms that I received, that is how other people are received in Edinburg. You see that with new residents, new businesses, they are made to feel part of the community. Those are some of the reflections I have of Edinburg.”

Without reservation, the mayor and city council note that Edinburg will remain in most capable hands because of the experienced and talented staffs that Garza has helped forged as city manager.

“I trust that the professional team that he has put together and has become Edinburg’s forte can be duplicated in the future,” Mayor García expressed his confidence. “We lost Ramiro once before and we had one of our own (Fire Chief Shawn Snider) step up to the plate. I would hope and trust that he, or someone of his caliber, would be willing to take the reins once again.”

Garza hopes that his successor will enjoy the same blessings that have highlighted his role as one of the longest-serving city manager’s in Edinburg history.

“There is this hunger in Edinburg to bring new opportunities, more shopping, more restaurants, industrial development. It shows in what has happened in the past two years. Over the past 10 years, our assessed values have grown over the last decade. There has been been more than one million square feet of new retail in Edinburg, hundreds of new homes where people can have choices on where to live,” Garzas said. “I was very lucky to have been part of that.”

As for offering any advice to his successor, Garza said the best is yet to come.

“Edinburg is at the cusp of undergoing another period of important growth, with the new university and the new medical school. There are still challenges of not being able to improve the community in every way we would like to. It’s about building on the strong momentum that we have,” Garza said. “Whoever is going to come in, have an open mind, and roll up their sleeves and work hard with the elected leadership, and anything can be done.”

•••••••

For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

Share This

Share this post with your friends!