Featured in this November 28, 2018 image are: Front row, from left: Estella Sáenz, Vice President and Business Banking Officer, BBVA Compass; Jon Rebello, CEO, Texas Border and Gulf Coast Region, BBVA Compass; Alex Meade, CEO, Mission Economic Development Corporation; and Sam López, Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager, BBVA Compass. Back row, from left: Teclo J. García, Director of Communications and External Affairs, Mission Economic Development Corporation; Cristina Garza, Director of Social Impact, Mission Economic Development Corporation; Daniel Silva, COO, Mission Economic Development Corporation; and Joel Garza, Director of Technology, Mission Economic Development Corporation. In late 2018, Meade became City Manager for the City of Pharr, while Silva succeeded Meade as CEO for the Mission Economic Development Corporation.
Photograph Courtesy MISSION ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Pharr City leaders release salary and benefits package for new City Manager Alex Meade; Daniel Silva succeeds Meade as CEO for Mission Economic Development Corporation
Alex Meade, who was hired on October 15, 2018 by the Pharr City Commission as its new city manager, is being paid a base salary of $250,000 a year, along with a $7,200 annual car allowance, City of Pharr officials announced on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.
Making public those key aspects of Meade’s financial compensation package was based on a decision by Mayor Ambrosio Hernández, MD, who emphasized the city’s commitment to open government and transparency.
Hernández’ overruled an earlier decision by the city’s legal department, which contended Meade’s contract was not a public record under existing state law, and that by releasing that information, it would damage the city’s best interests when trying to attract and hold on to top talent.
Through its legal department, Pharr officials requested an Attorney General Opinion from the state government for clarity on whether or not the Meade’s contract was indeed a public record
An attorney general opinion is a written interpretation of existing law. Attorney general opinions cannot create new provisions in the law or correct unintended, undesirable effects of the law. Attorney general opinions do not necessarily reflect the attorney general’s personal views, nor does the attorney general in any way “rule” on what the law should say. Furthermore, attorney general opinions cannot resolve factual disputes.
But once the mayor released the requested information about Meade’s contract, The City of Pharr withdrew its request for an Attorney General Opinion.
“While city officials understand and respect the public’s right to obtain public information, they also have to balance the best interest of the city and its potential for growth and development with the potential disadvantages of making certain information public, given the competitive nature between Valley cities,” the City of Pharr news release stated.
“However, in the interest of continuing its commitment to transparency, Hernández decided to release all information related to Meade’s employment and salary to the public,” the City of Pharr news release further stated. “Set at $250,000 base annually, plus $7,200 annual car allowance, the new city manager’s salary is comparable to what surrounding Valley cities of equal size are paying their respective city managers. Meade’s contract also provides for standard employee benefits and a severance if he were to be terminated without cause.”
The issue first came up when Dave Hendricks, writing for the Progress Times newspaper in Mission, on Monday, December 10, 2018, formally requested – under the Texas Public Information Act – a copy of Pharr’s contract with Meade, 42, who was leaving a successful career and a reported annual salary of $195,000 with the Mission Economic Development Corporation, to become the top city administrative leader for Pharr.
The Texas Public Information Act sets requirements for the ability of citizens to access information on action taken by governmental bodies. Such transparency provides Texans with a more complete understanding of how their government works, and, when necessary, provides them an opportunity to hold their public officials accountable.
The Mission EDC, a component of the City of Mission, is tasked with creating jobs, attracting capital investment, improving the quality of life and strengthening the workforce in Mission. Mission EDC accomplishes its task by focusing in five areas: Entrepreneurship and STEAM Education, Business Expansion and Retention, Recruitment, Infrastructure and Transportation and Quality of Life.
The City of Pharr’s news release on the Meade’s contract follows:
After an extensive search to lead the administration and oversight of the daily operations of the City of Pharr, city officials announced the selection of Alex Meade as its city manager. Meade brings a wealth of professional experience, leadership capacity, and a progressive vision that aligns with Pharr’s goals and direction, according to Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernández, MD.
Currently, the City of Pharr remains in a highly competitive position among cities in the Rio Grande Valley in terms of property tax growth, sales tax activity, and the ability to attract and retain talented employees. In recent months, a series of leadership transitions in neighboring communities, including the retirement and resignation of several city managers, has left city leaders actively searching to find qualified candidates to fill these vacancies.
Pharr’s own former city manager resigned to work for a neighboring community (Edinburg) at a more competitive salary.
While city officials understand and respect the public’s right to obtain public information, they also have to balance the best interest of the city and its potential for growth and development with the potential disadvantages of making certain information public, given the competitive nature between Valley cities.
Recently, a freelance news reporter (Dave Hendricks) submitted a public information request to Pharr’s city secretary asking for the new city manager’s contract, which included his annual salary. In this case, the city believed it to be in its best interest to try to protect its investment in talent and the potential economic growth that Meade’s experience would bring to Pharr. In an effort to keep that information private, the City of Pharr, relying on the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling in Boeing vs. Paxton, sought an Attorney General Opinion allowing withholding of the new city manager’s salary information
However, in the interest of continuing its commitment to transparency, Hernández decided this week to release all information related to Meade’s employment and salary to the public. Set at $250,000 base annually, plus $7,200 annual car allowance, the new city manager’s salary is comparable to what surrounding Valley cities of equal size are paying their respective city managers. Meade’s contract also provides for standard employee benefits and a severance if he were to be terminated without cause. The city has also withdrawn its request for a ruling from the Texas Attorney General.
The City of Pharr is proud to have been able to recruit and retain Meade – a highly-qualified, well-educated, and accomplished administrator – as its newest city manager. Meade’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Edward’s University, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas-Brownsville and the University of Texas Pan American, respectively.
Meade’s professional accomplishments include attracting projects that created jobs and capital investments in excess of $300 million for the Mission Economic Development Corporation. Collectively, Meade brings 15 years of economic development experience, most recently, while at the Mission EDC,
Meade developed workforce development programs that have been recognized at the local, state, and federal levels. He implemented a small-business fund (Ruby Red Ventures) for citizens of Mission, and established the Code-the-Town initiative, which promotes computer science education in the city.
In the Fall of 2016, Meade opened Mission EDC’s Center for Education and Economic Development, a 55,000-square-foot co-working facility aimed at creating an entrepreneurial and creative ecosystem in the City of Mission.
In addition to these achievements, Meade was recently appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Texas State Technical College Board of Regents and was previously appointed by Abbott to the Texas Economic Development Corporation.
He was also previously appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, and the Governor’s Advisory Board of Economic Development Stakeholders.
City officials are confident in Meade’s commitment to the City of Pharr and confident that his vast experience will contribute to the progressive vision for Pharr’s future.
DANIEL SILVA NAMED CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF MISSION ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION TO SUCCEED ALEX MEADE
On Thursday, November 29, 2018, the Mission Economic Development Corporation board announced that it had named Daniel Silva the new Chief Executive Officer of the city’s organization charged with creating jobs and economic opportunity in Mission.
Silva, with 14 years of economic development experience and master’s degree in public administration, will begin immediately. He previously served as the Mission EDC’s Chief Operating Officer.
“I appreciate the support and confidence of the Mission EDC board and Mayor (Armando “Doc) O’Caña in naming me to this very important position,” said Silva. “We will continue to move forward with the projects we have on hand, continue to focus on small business and the community in addition to providing the technology and skills training needed to continue the ground-breaking work that we’re known for.”
Silva added that he looks forward to working with the Mission EDC board, the mayor and city council to maintain the city’s growth and low unemployment rates through economic development, recruitment and other programs. He was named to the top position on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, immediately following CEO Alex Meade’s resignation to pursue another opportunity.
“Daniel is a very capable CEO. He’s been very instrumental getting us to where we are at,” said S. David Deanda, Mission EDC Board President. “Daniel is going to be a great fit for the organization, and a great fit for the City of Mission. There was no question as to who the replacement was going to be. There’s just nobody as qualified as him.”
Also, Deanda said he was grateful to have worked with Meade and thanked him for his voluminous work and signature accomplishments during his seven years at the Mission EDC.
Silva, 37, holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration in Computer Information Systems as well as a master’s in Public Administration. Both degrees are from the UT-Pan American (UTRGV).
He currently holds certifications as a Certified Public Manager (CPM), an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) and a Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED). Silva’s previous capacities with the Mission EDC includes Project Manager for seven years and Chief Operating Officer for additional seven years.
Silva has been married for 14 years to Mónica Silva, a librarian at Sharyland ISD’s John H. Shary Elementary. Together, they have a 13-year-old son, Daniel, and a 10-year-old daughter Bianca.
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).