SANGER – After seven years of service as Sanger’s city manager, Sanger-native Tim Chapa has decided it’s time to step down from the position.
Sanger City Manager Chapa submitted his letter of resignation to city staff on July 7, officially bringing his seven plus years as the city’s chief executive officer to a close.
“After much thought and consideration, I am announcing my retirement with the City of Sanger,” Chapa wrote in his resignation letter. “Having been born and raised in Sanger, I have been blessed to have worked for the city for over 15 years.”
Technically, Chapa remains the city manager; he is on a leave of absence until Sept. 8 – his official resignation date.
Chapa designated Sanger Chief of Police Greg Garner to serve as acting city manager while the city looks for either an interim or permanent replacement.
“I have faith in the city heads to assist me during this time,” Garner said. He added he will continue his duties as chief of police and will remain as the acting city manager until the city finds a replacement.
The Sanger City Council appointed Chapa as city manager on December 17, 2015; his first day on the job was January 21, 2016. The Times reached out to Chapa for comment on his resignation; he has not replied. In his letter, he wrote, “I am proud of what we’ve accomplished together. We have had a strong focus on public safety, providing the resources to equip and staff the Police and Fire Departments.”
Chapa also wrote he was proud of the city’s accomplishments with respect to redevelopment. He cited as example the 300 acres the city annexed for commercial development.
The city council convened a special council meeting on July 13 to address Chapa’s resignation and to discuss three items on the consent calendar and a Community Development Block Grant to fund improvements at Medrano/Olive Glen Park. The council was short members Esmeralda Hurtado and Dolores Melendez, who were in New York attending a conference for the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials.
When reached by phone in New York, Hurtado said she was unaware the meeting had been scheduled.
Mayor Frank Gonzalez, Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Martinez, Councilmember Michael Montelongo and Garner were in attendance at the council meeting.
At the meeting, City Attorney Hilda Cantu-Montoy informed the council that it would not be voting on Chapa’s replacement that evening.
“The only thing you’re doing tonight for your discussion is to consider procedures you would like to undertake for the selection of an interim or permanent city manager,” Cantu-Montoy said. She added the option for selecting an interim manager was on the table because the process of finding a permanent manager could extend past Chapa’s official resignation date.
Cantu-Montoy said the council could choose to recruit in-house or could retain an outside agency to conduct the search, in which case the council’s first act would be to approve a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit bids from outside agencies.
“I concur; we should go RFP and go out,” Montelongo said. “It’s the best bet for the city.”
Gonzalez echoed Cantu-Montoy’s declaration that the council would not be selecting Chapa’s replacement at the meeting.
“We’re not hiring anybody right now,” Gonzalez said. “We’re just getting the ball rolling. We’re at the startline of a race and all we’re doing is shooting off the gun.”
At the conclusion of the discussion, the council voted unanimously to initiate the RFP process to find a permanent – not interim – city manager.