Select Page

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Featured, from left: Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; newly-appointed Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina; Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; and former City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr., who now serves as President and CEO of RG Economic Advisors. This image was taken on Thursday, February 6, 2014, during joint grand opening ceremonies of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation business complex, located at 101 North 10th Avenue, and Canales’ District 40 Legislative Office, which is in the EEDC facility.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

With his unanimous selection on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 by the mayor and city council to serve as the city’s mayor pro tem, Councilmember Richard Molina continues to build his leadership role as a representative for Edinburg at the local, state and national levels, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Molina will now run city council meetings, address business and community groups, and work even more with state and federal lawmakers on the city’s successful legislative agendas whenever Mayor Richard García is unable to perform those duties. For a city such as Edinburg, where economic development advances and improvements to the quality-of-life continue to take place at an impressive pace, being mayor pro tem has always been much more than an honorary title. “Mayor Richard García is a well-known defense attorney, and his busy schedule on behalf of his clients and our city have him traveling away from Edinburg throughout the Valley, Texas, and the nation. This is when the mayor pro tem is vitally needed to show Edinburg citizens how important are their concerns and issues, especially during gatherings and meetings here at home when the mayor is not available,” said Molina. Edinburg is growing so fast that sometimes the mayor is needed at one meeting, and the mayor pro tem is needed at another session that is going on at the same time, he explained. “Just today (Saturday, February 27, 2016), Councilmember David Torres and I represented the city council for an important tour of the new soccer practice fields, which are being upgraded to first-class levels at the Edinburg Municipal Park. One of those fields which will host the practices for the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros professional soccer team,” Molina illustrated. “We also met with Bert García, the president of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers professional basketball team, and Alonzo Cantú, the developer of the $16.8 million soccer stadium complex being built in Edinburg, for an in-depth tour and update of this major new professional soccer venue coming to our city later this spring.” The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros professional soccer team and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers professional basketball team are part of an ownership group which features Cantú, with Bert García in the top executive role. Cantú and Bert García are also key figures, along with the Mayor and City Council, in the planned construction of the $88 million Bert Ogden Arena that will be home to the Vipers, and which is being built in south Edinburg along U.S. Expressway 281/Interstate Highway 69C. For all the responsibilities he willingly takes, and the many hours he dedicates to the city, Molina never takes himself too seriously, often demonstrating that humor and good will go a long way towards keeping the people’s touch that is essential for any political leader. “When Mayor Richard García is not able to make key meetings, then Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina is ready, willing and able to represent Edinburg,” he said. “You always need a good backup quarterback if you want to get to and win a Super Bowl.”

••••••

As newly-appointed Mayor Pro Tem, Richard Molina increases his role as a representative for Edinburg at the local, state and national levels, EEDC announces

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

With his unanimous selection on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 by the mayor and city council to serve as the city’s mayor pro tem, Councilmember Richard Molina continues to build his leadership role as a representative for Edinburg at the local, state and national levels, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

Molina, who secured 53 percent of the vote in a special election on Saturday, September 14, 2013 to fill a vacancy on the five-member Edinburg City Council, now will run city council meetings, address business and community groups, and work even more with state and federal lawmakers on the city’s successful legislative agendas whenever Mayor Richard García is unable to perform those duties.

Molina was sworn into his first term on the city council – it also was his first run for elected office – on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 to succeed Agustín García, Jr., who now serves as executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The EEDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and 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.

Agustín García, Jr. and Mayor Richard García are not related.

For Molina, public service has been a key part of his life even before he sought elected office.

According to his official biography maintained by the city, Molina, who is the Place 1 council member, graduated from Edinburg North High School in 1996, is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Joint Forge-Bosnia and was honorably discharged. He worked as a detention officer with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department, then was part of the the Edinburg Police Department for 11 years, finishing as a police sergeant.

As Molina and his wife, the former Dalia De Luna, raise their family, they also own and operate Molina Rental Properties (construction) in Edinburg.

Still, he found time for giving back to his hometown through many leadership opportunities, such as sponsoring and coaching teams in the Edinburg Parks and Recreation Basketball League, and through his continuing memberships with the Lions Noon club and the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce.

Those professional and voluntary experiences in his hometown would help shape the decisions that have now led him to the mayor pro-tem designation, as he succeeds City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr.

“Patrolling the streets of Edinburg and being involved in the community through various organizations led me to run for elected office,” Molina reflected. “I appreciate very much the citizens of Edinburg for allowing me the honor and privilege of representing them on the Edinburg City Council. I am grateful to have a city council and a mayor who believe in me as mayor pro tem to help me hold down the fort when the mayor is not available.”

For a city such as Edinburg, where economic development advances and improvements to the quality-of-life are taking place at an amazing pace, being mayor pro tem has always been much more than an honorary title.

“Mayor Richard García is a well-known defense attorney, and his busy schedule on behalf of his clients and our city have him traveling away from Edinburg throughout the Valley, Texas, and the nation. This is when the mayor pro tem is vitally needed to show people how important are their concerns and issues, especially during gatherings and meetings here at home,” said Molina.

Edinburg is growing so fast that sometimes the mayor is needed at one meeting, and the mayor pro tem is needed at another session that is going on at the same time, he explained.

“Just today (Saturday, February 27, 2016), Councilmember David Torres and I represented the city council for an important tour of the new soccer practice fields, which are being upgraded to first-class levels at the Edinburg Municipal Park. One of those fields will host the practices for the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros professional soccer team,” Molina illustrated. “We also met with Bert García, the president of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers professional basketball team, and Alonzo Cantú, the developer of the $16.8 million soccer stadium complex being built in Edinburg, for an in-depth tour and update of this major new professional soccer venue and team coming to our city later this spring.”

The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros professional soccer team and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers professional basketball team are part of an ownership group which features Cantú, with Bert García in the top executive role. Cantú and Bert García are also key figures, along with the Mayor and Edinburg City Council, in the planned construction of the $88 million Bert Ogden Arena that will be home to the Vipers, and which is being built in south Edinburg along U.S. Expressway 281/Interstate Highway 69C.

From the beginning of his current term on the City Council, Molina immersed himself in additional work for the community, making regular visits to the EEDC public meetings in order to bring himself up-to-speed on economic development projects underway or in the planning stages by the five-member EEDC Board of Directors.

In addition, the city council and mayor had previously approved Molina’s membership on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, which is another one of the more influential components of city government.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, which meets once a month, reviews and make recommendations to the mayor and city council on rezoning, special use permits, and subdivisions.

For Molina, this gives him the chance to hear in detail, either before or during the P&Z Commission public meetings, plans for many of the new businesses and residential subdivisions, or proposed changes to existing commercial properties and homes, which are being proposed for eventual final action by the mayor and city council.

“We on the Planning and Zoning Commission are able to see in advance the direction of the city’s growth, and we are able to get more details from the developers behind these projects, either by my speaking with them before the P&Z meeting, and when they address the full P&Z Commission,” said Molina. “That way, the P&Z Commission, with the tremendous help of the Planning & Zoning Department, is able to provide the most important information possible so the mayor and city council can make the best decisions possible.”

Regarding his influential position on that city public body, he added, “I thank the mayor and city council for having the faith and confidence to appoint me to the Planning and Zoning Commission as well.”

According to the city, the Edinburg Planning and Zoning department is in place to ensure that the community develops in a safe, efficient and attractive manner. This is achieved through city regulations like the Comprehensive Plan and the Unified Development Code.

The Planning and Zoning staff administers the review of development projects to ensure compliance with the city regulations, coordinates pre-submittal meetings and administers the zoning and platting process.

The Planning and Zoning Department, which is led by Jesús R. Sáenz as Director, also prepares reports, present site data and recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council regarding rezoning, special use permits, and subdivision plats.

For all the responsibilities he willingly takes, and the many hours he dedicates to the city, Molina never takes himself too seriously, often demonstrating that humor and good will go a long way towards keeping the people’s touch that is essential for any political leader.

“When Mayor Richard García is not able to make key meetings, then Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina is ready, willing and able to represent Edinburg,” he said. “You always need a good backup quarterback if you want to get to and win a Super Bowl.”

According to an analysis prepared by City Manager Richard Hinojosa, these are the following elements relating to the office of mayor pro tem in Edinburg:

Article III, Section 2, of the City of Edinburg Charter, requires the appointment of a Mayor Pro Tem to serve during the absence of the Mayor, or his/her inability to act; the Mayor Pro Tem shall have the authority and perform the duties of Mayor.

Section 2 reads as follows:

At the first regular meeting of the city council each year, immediately following the election and qualification of new members of said board elected at said election, or as soon thereafter as practicable, the city council shall choose one of the council members as mayor pro tem.

The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the city council, at which he/she is present, and shall exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as are or may be imposed upon him/her by this charter and the ordinances of the city. He/she shall be recognized as the head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes, by the courts for serving civil processes, and by the governor for purposes of military law.

In time of public danger or emergency, the mayor shall, if so authorized by order of the city council, take command of the police, maintain and restore order, and enforce the law; and for that purpose may summon, deputize, and command such additional officers from among the citizenship of the city as he/she may determine necessary for the purpose.”

Also related to Molina’s position on the Edinburg Planning and Zoning Commission, on Thursday, February 25, 2016, Edinburg City Manager Richard M. Hinojosa named Jesús Sáenz, who had been serving on an interim basis, as the new Planning and Zoning Director, according to a city news release.

Sáenz has been with the city for five years and most recently served as the Planning and Zoning Urban Planner. Sáenz, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, has almost 16 years of related experience.

Prior to his work with the City of Edinburg, Sáenz worked for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council for nine years as Assistant Director of Regional Transit Services, Operations Supervisor and Planner. He also worked for the Rio Grande Valley Empowerment Zone Corporation for three years as the Community Youth Development Manager.

As the City’s Urban Planner II, Sáenz supervised the development and maintenance of a land use database, updated city regulations and ordinances, supervised daily activities of the Code Enforcement Division and Health Division, and worked with the City Forester on City landscaping and irrigation requirements.

Sáenz is a native of Edinburg, having graduated from Edinburg North High School in 1997. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Minor in Human Resources Management from The University of Texas Pan American in 2008.

Sáenz replaces Richard Hinojosa who became city manager on December 2, 2015.

••••••

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!