San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 25th, 2010
Menchaca says he will explore legal avenues

062510menchaca

Rick Menchaca at a public event in 2008. Menchaca was fired by the San Marcos City Council Thursday night in a 4-3 vote. File photo.

By BILL PETERSON
Executive Editor

Though the San Marcos City Council has fired City Manager Rick Menchaca, the city may not have heard the last from him.

About an hour after the council voted, 4-3, to fire Menchaca Thursday night, Menchaca said he has not accepted the city’s offer of severance. Menchaca said he will look for an attorney and explore his legal options. Menchaca did not rule out the possibility of suing the city.

Beyond that, Menchaca criticized Mayor Susan Narvaiz, who, he said, orchestrated his ouster during the course of eight-to-ten hours of executive sessions in the last ten days. Menchaca said he was before the council for a grand total of about 20 minutes during those executive sessions, which were posted as an “evaluation” of the city manager.

“When you’re doing an evaluation, that doesn’t sound like a very open and fair process,” Menchaca said.

Though Thursday night’s meeting at which the council fired Menchaca was posted at City Hall as required by law, other usual methods of distributing the agenda were not followed. The agenda was not posted as usual on the city clerk’s page on the city’s website, though it was accessible on the MuniAgenda utility after many attempts, and email subscribers to the agenda did not receive it.

The meeting was held in a conference room behind the council chamber, rather than in the council chamber or the staff conference room where the council often holds workshops. The meeting was not televised on the city’s public access television station or the city’s website.

“I’m disappointed that she’s acted so unprofessionally in this matter,” Menchaca said of Narvaiz.

After the council voted for Menchaca’s termination, he said Narvaiz and City Attorney Michael Cosentino gave him 15 minutes to look at the severance agreement they had drawn up before pressuring for his signature. Menchaca said he told them he would consult an attorney.

“The hastiness of it, I was not comfortable,” Menchaca said. ” … I’ve got 22 years of city management experience. I’m not going to sign it in 15 minutes. You get more time when you’re buying furniture at Ashley’s Furniture.”

Narvaiz refused comment about Menchaca’s termination, saying it’s a personnel matter. Other councilmembers also refused to comment, citing legal constraints.

Menchaca said the three-term mayor has consolidated much more power in her office than prescribed by the council-manager form of government under which the city is chartered. Menchaca said he began feeling those effects from the beginning, once he was hired effective May 1, 2008.

“I don’t think that she understands the council-manager form of government in the city charter,” Menchaca said.

Asked why he thought Narvaiz moved to have him fired, Menchaca said he didn’t understand it, adding that it was entirely unwarranted. Menchaca said he has received positive evaulations of his performance throughout his time in San Marcos.

Menchaca said that when he began the job, the city was four years behind in capital improvements projects while nearly $200 million for those projects were sitting in the bank and being taxed without any work being done. Menchaca said he has put $110 million worth of projects in motion in his 25 months, saved the city about $500,000 per year on a staff reorganization and saved another $1.7 million refinancing debt.

“I’ve got an impeccable record,” Menchaca said. “I’ve saved the city millions of dollars and balanced the tax rate without cutting services at a time when other cities are having to raise taxes.”

The only specific problem Menchaca could name that he thought motivated Narvaiz was fairly recent. At the end of May, C.M. Allen Parkway took on a new look after Menchaca ordered a “road diet,” which reduced traffic from four lanes to two while adding bike lanes and 170 parking spaces.

Councilmember John Thomaides wrote a letter to the editor in local publications praising the move, and 119 citizens signed a petition approving of the change. But Menchaca said Narvaiz didn’t like it.

“It’s a great project,” Menchaca said. “She didn’t agree with that. It’s as petty as that.”

Menchaca said professionals in public management and superintending positions understand firings as a way of life, but added that sudden firings of this sort tend to occur shortly before or shortly after elections. The mayor’s seat and two council seats are up for election in November.

“This is an election season, and people start doing things like this,” Menchaca said.

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63 thoughts on “Menchaca says he will explore legal avenues

  1. This is just strange… anyone have any more inside information regarding why the cc members voted the way they did? “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”

  2. Pingback: Split council terminates City Manager Menchaca - San Marcos Local News

  3. I’m not shocked or upset about this. Menchaca’s management style and poor people skills caught up with him. I commend the council for their decision.

  4. It is about time they made this great decision. I cannot believe that the citizens have sat back and watched Mr. Menchaca do things for his benefit only. He has and will always look out for himself.

  5. Perhaps there might be a pattern with this man. ?? I’d suggest those interested do some research regarding his work and then termination with the City of Midland a few years ago. I can’t recall the specifics… but it was a big stink around here. Something was rotten.

  6. Pingback: Manager vs. Mayor : Bobcat Fans – Texas State Bobcats Fan Site for News Forum Message Board

  7. Hmmm. Autocratic, petty, done without the benefit of public scrutiny, snuck in at the last minute and done without giving any reason. Yep, sounds like Susan. The real question should be if anyone is surprised at this point, aside from Menchaca, who I don’t blame for being stunned.

    And 15 minutes to examine the severance package? Wow.

    Just goes to show you what happens when you don’t pay appropriate homage to the Queen.

  8. At least it didn’t take the good people of San Marcus as long as it took the Midland City Council to figure out Menchaca.

  9. The Queen has so much power, more than most mayors of this city have had….its a shame she’s done so little with such influence. She’s helped bring some small improvements, but at high financial, and now unethical costs. The list…a new Central Fire Station, one new major employer, the expansion of a couple other major employers, a nice hotel with a big meeting room, and of course, best of all she brought Target, Bealls and JC Penney to town (oh wait they were already here). I don’t think we want to be the largest city on earth, but what we do want are improvements in the right areas. Take care of what makes us special, unique. Let our city grow, on our terms, at our pace, based upon our own vision, and DO it all without wasting OUR money. We will always be in the shadows of San Antonio and Austin, but now even New Braufels and Kyle are doing more with less and moving to overshadow us. We have so much potential, so with all your power, what can you do for us? Or more properly, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR US?

  10. I want to know why this is breaking news? Looks like it is time for a challenge. Someone clarify what “personal matters” could possibly mean? And lol at the Pretty Near Perfect comment!

  11. This is just another example of an administration that has become so egotistical that they know better then the public that voted them in & the public servants that serve our town. How many City Managers, City Attorneys, Planning & Zoning Staff do we have to replace till everyone agrees with what our Mayor wants? Wake up & vote her out of office before She rules the town completely.

  12. Something is most definitely rotten in the state of Denmark. Our mayor does not uphold the Horizon’s Master Plan, which was created by professionals and citizens alike, and paid very handsomely for. Narvais and her cronies’ support for the development on the Buie tract, which was mis-handled from the beginning, shows blatant disregard for the city’s master plan and the wishes of the constituency. The only people who spoke in support of the rezoning were those who had a direct financial benefit. Citizens from four different neighborhoods, plus members of C.O.N.A. and staff from several environmental protection groups were very vocal in opposition. It did not matter. It did not matter that the property in question is located on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. It did not matter that the city’s master plan provides the Buie tract area NOT be multi family or multi use. Nor does it matter that the plan outlines the process by which the plan should be updated, should areas set out for particular types of zoning run out- AND NONE OF THESE STEPS WERE TAKEN.

    If Mayor Narvais, who referred to the master plan- created in large part by the citizens of San Marcos- as a general guideline, does not care about any of this- what the hell does she care about?

    I’ll give you a hint: $$.

    How does moving Target, etc. out to McCarty Road support the “live, work, play” philosophy she continually trumpets?? It doesn’t. She talks out her rear and then does whatever she wants to do. And so far she has gotten away with it.

    She is an elected official. She got voted in- she can be voted out. Drive your neighbors to the polls if you have to but we NEED a mayor who actually cares about San Marcos. Enough is enough with her cronyism (just wait until you see who she appoints for her new neighborhood commission- not likely people actually from those neighborhoods), her unprofessional behavior and her inability to protect the important environmental and cultural assets of San Marcos.

    I hope to be stumping for a new mayor in a few months. At this point my dog would do a better job than she does. I hope Menchaca sues the pants off of them. Maybe then people will start paying attention to how badly she is handling things.

  13. Unless you folks worked for this man or the COSM you have no idea what kind of egotistical, tyrant, control freak he is. He ran off more good people from this City than you can count on one hand. Do a little research from Midland. Same stuff…belitting people (especially women), rude, controlling, to name a few. There is much more to this story and I have a strong feeling more will come out about his antics here in SM.

    Stop trying to make this a political move by the Mayor. She and the rest of the council made a huge mistake hiring him and many told them so at the time. At least she and 3 others finally saw the light and saw the damage he was doing to our city and our city employees. I commend her, Fred, Ryan and Chris for having the guts to make a hard decision and put the citizens and employees first, not this self-serving, egotisitical tyrant that should have never been hired in the first place. Also, shame on the other 3 (Kim, Gaylord and John) for not having the guts to do the right thing. That should have been a 7-0 vote to fire him. But some or all of them are turning a personnel matter into a political statement. Trust me, if one of their family members (wife, son, daughter, husband, etc) had worked directly for this man and been subjected to the treatment he made eother city mployees go through, they would have been the first ones screaming for him to be fired along time ago. All the council knows how he treated employees. It is no secret. Shame they are turning this into a political issue to help John get elected Mayor in November.

  14. It is a sad day for everyone involved.. someone lost his job, the city will pay around $200,000 with severance and all for one year of work, the City has no manager and nobody knows anything. Despite all that, I think a little patience would serve everyone well. I don’t think posters without names should disparage Menchaca the same day he lost his job, and I don’t think the same chorus of Susan Haters should use a personnel decision by four members of council to rehash their same gripes (Buie, etc.).

    Only those in executive session know the reasons that led to the firing, and the guesswork isn’t really fair to Council or Menchaca. Everyone will know a lot more after the dust has cleared. Any ethical concerns can be addressed. If there were violations of law, we have a system for those. If he really needed to go, the City may end up in a better place. All I can say for sure is that he wasn’t fired for the bike lanes on CM Allen and Susan didn’t act alone.

  15. Word has it that there were no ethical violations.

    It was a personality conflict.

    The supporting council members caved in under pressure from above.

    You can fill in the blanks.

  16. Pft… Has anyone ever worked with Susan? Has she ever treated anyone unethically or acted unprofessional? HAs she ever crossed the line?

  17. To my knowledge, none of the city council have spoken about their vote. While I agree with the outcome of this decision, I don’t agree with HOW it was handled. City Council actions should be done in public. The secrecy and speed with which this was handled should scare anyone with dealings with the city.

  18. Well..Well..Well…the FIRING NEWS OF RICK MENCHACA has already HIT MIDLAND, TEXAS. You ask..what does Midland have to do with it, well folks…he has been in San Marcus about 1 1/2 years. What you might not know is, he was FIRED FROM MIDLAND TOO…except that he took MIDLAND for over 500,000.00 dollars. YES, that is right. Half of a million. Hang on to your Pocket Books San Marcus and you better PRAY that your city Council did not break any LAWS….dont believe me…go back the archives in Midland, Texas and read them…Google Mr. Menchaca and I can promise you will will find the news…He wont have to work too much longer after he keeps getting huge amounts for compensation.

  19. Mr. Franklin,

    It was personality issues in Midland too. Mr. Menchaca does not play well with others. Talk to the FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE who resigned because of Mr. Menchaca..and it was the Chief of Police’s resignation that upset this community and let to the FIRING of Mr. Menchaca…

  20. And….he will research his legal issues and get EVERY PENNY HE CAN….Sorry San Marcus. I feel sorry for you…and I’m still angry at the money he took from this community

  21. Get ready to get soaked – it cost us here in Midland almost half a million dollars to get rid of him and he was holding out for over $800,000.00. It would be interesting to know how many raises he got while in San Marcos. While the CIty, police, and fire budgets were being slashed here he managed to get 2 or 3 very nice raises. He’s a real piece of work and everyone here was glad to see him go. We certainly didn’t wish him on anyone else and we were stunned to hear San Marcos had hired him. You have had our sympathy from day one, but at least he’s leaving after a short period. We were stuck with him for years.

  22. Thank you folks from Midland for filling us into history that we did not know. There have been a lot of really stupid things this city has done in the last year and a half. How much the blame can be attributed to Mr Menchaca ? If he was a major player in the Lime Kiln sewer fiasco then the city or citizens ought to be suing him. lets take the fines and cost over runs on that project out of his severance. Now that he is gone is the city going to start enforcing the stormwater protection regulations ? While they are at it they ought to get rid of the city staff who reccomended approval of the Buie tract. There is a giant hole in the aquifer that has been spewing lies and deceptions over this town like a giant flood of snakeoil. Its time to wake up and plug it.

  23. “NO IDEA” Above…HIT IT RIGHT ON THE NAIL.

    He is an little egotistical tyrant and control freak. He does treat his employees like. @($&.
    The word needs to get out. There is not another city in this state that needs to be financially sucked dry by this man. He has made is bed…he needs to learn to sleep in it. If he gets another City Managers Job…I mean…really…I am going to be watching where he goes and I am going to be emailing…calling..whatever I got to do to let people know they do not need to hire him.

  24. “Get ready to get soaked”

    Thanks for the warning, Mr. Bulldog, but we were already becoming numb to it, long before Mr. Manchaca arrived.

    And unfortunately after his departure, our particular problem will still remain.

    Mr. Manchaca was not my first, nor even my second choice for City Manager, and our citizens did not really have much of a say in the matter of his hiring, although it was elaborately portrayed that we would.

    I do however have a say in November over who ultimately selected Mr. Manchaca in the first place, and that person is indeed and ironically, the same individual who just fired him !!! ??? !!!

    In Mr. Manchaca’s defense, the City of San Marcos had $200 million in the bank prior to the onset of this debacle, yet our streets, our neighborhoods, and our city as a whole, were being allowed by our Mayor and her polarizing management style, to deteriorate to critical, demoralizing and embarrassing limits.

    The Capital Improvement Projects in San Marcos were five years behind schedule, and absolutely nothing was being done by our city government besides the brokering of deals and building of hotels and strip malls out on Interstate 35, to enhance our city and our livability under the present “leadership” at City Hall.

    Mr. Manchaca did manage to get the ball rolling in the right direction, in spite of having to overcome this tremendous (negative effect) inertia, and things were finally beginning to progress noticeably around town from a citizen’s and visitor’s perspective.

    Evidently this course of action (vs. inaction) and the legitimate use of our tax dollars,

    just did not fit in with our Mayor’s plans and her own self proclaimed vision of “Forward Progress, Higher Purpose”.

    So now, alas, we are now back to square one, it would seem.

    As citizens, with regard to our city government, we find ourselves subjected to the reactionary, whiplash effect once again of a wild roller-coaster ride over which we’ve lost any sense of control long, long ago..

    P.S.

    Ms. Smith,

    I can’t even count the number of good, qualified people that have been fired or have resigned here in San Marcos as a result of our present mayoral regime.

    If Midland became upset at the mere resignation of your Chief of Police, there must still exist a refreshing degree of propriety and civility out there in West Texas.

    I recall the days when it was relatively pleasant like that here, but we are way past that now, regrettably.

    Consider yourself fortunate.

    And by the way, for the record,

    it’s San MarCOS.

  25. And it is indeed Mr. MENchaca.

    Manchaca is a town just south of Austin.

    The devil is in the details.

  26. I can’t believe the number of people who are just realizing that this guy was fired in Midland. It was all over the news before he was hired. Get your heads out of the sand. You better just hope he does not take you to the bank like he did Midland. This thing is not political but some of you are trying to turn it into that. The city manager is hired and fired as an at will employee, as are most of the directors in this city. In other words they can hire and fire you when they want. I love the public scrutiny comments. Why don’t you publicly scrutinize the guy hired to pick up your trash or fix your roads?

    The next mayor or council members elected in November will do the same thing. And when some of them start stirring the pot over politics people will run here and post theories that have nothing to do with the matter. History repeats itself, fired from Midland fired from San Marcos, and fired from the next city also. History will also repeat itself with the next group of elected officials no matter whom you think your friend is. Politicians always have some other motive for their actions or release of information. Be careful!

  27. At one point, the City had a collection of middle and upper level Administrators, both at the administrative and second tier middle management levels, who had advanced degrees in Public Administration, substantial teamwork, smooth operations and visible accomplishments, other than avoiding proper channels for launching and completing projects, usually on time and budget. These young people have excellent backgrounds in technical work, planning, management and control to bring them through the public process to achieve and deliver logical (for the most part) work projects and results for the citizen at large, all under the Charter Responsibility of the manager.

    Problems were mostly aired and explained to the public. The Manager’s Office was charged to implement Council Policy, mostly with the Council creating initiatives, then carrying them out under scrutiny by citizens and the elected officials.. A collegial team at peace with goals and objectives that were consistent with the Council’s stated policy and budgetary parameters agreed upon by all. What ever it might be, staff had the talent and know how to carry it out, even though several Council Members lack much depth in the required technical or policy action. I.e, the chain of command specified in the Charter was followed well. Council members, being inexperienced as a rule, lacked both training and experience–“corporate memory,” if you will, to venture outside their own interests and viewpoints.

    More and more of Executive Authority has been usurped from the manager and his staff, such that the actual MANAGEMENT FUNCTION of government no longer fitted the Charter description. There have been problems with pacing, collaboration, project completion in due fashion, competing priorities often causing errors of judgment and execution. Whose errors? Whose pushing toward centralized power? Whose incessant push for personal agendas?

    Answers to such questions are just guesses, since the Council has used what might be called “stealth maneuvers” to move or change the direction, focus or schedule/timing of matters before the dais. Pretty-carefully chosen citizens and consultants have been involved throughout the process mainly to shape public opinion about good ideas as well as bad. Hearings and schedules and charges by pretty much hand-picked team-member advisors were scheduled awkwardly for citizens to have voices and participate fully, not as mere rubber stamps and stalking horses.

    Under such conditions, it becomes very hard for a Manager to maintain enough control or balance to harmonize the turbulence around him or her. Boils down to a conflict of visions and roles, which can be resolved by the Council’s deciding that such and such is not THE Manager for “us,” or “the times.” (A bold assertion that “It is my way or the highway,” which requires a consensus vote. Questions: Who developed indigestion, and over what that is worth such a sudden and costly maneuver as a summary firing? Then, who actually made the motion, the original person or merely a like thinker? And what FACTS OR CHANGES brought along those who voted together?

    The rather more usual way the playlet runs, in professional circles, the offender is brought to heel, presented with his or her defects, documented in personnel records, and becomes a part of the record as a notice or warning. For a summary execution, it would require at least one MAJOR FAUX PAS (possibly legal, such as fraud or perjury, then a further trial period evaluated at the end through a dialogue, and carried out in the light of monitoring and guidance so the person could improve, change, or make up for any blunders.

    Perhaps one clue here lies in the actual way Mr. Menchaca was hired to start–not even on the applicant short list, coming from a wildly dissimilar City and background, but instead chosen by fiat outside the normal hiring process. Arbitrary comes to mind. Single strong advocate comes to mind. Lack of clear two-way communication comes to mind.

    The deed may or may not be done and over with, but we should all hope for the chaos to die down, lest we lose more long-serving personnel and become a city with Altzheimer’s–neither sure where we came from, where we are, or where we are going. When leadership is savaged, good team players often feel left to take the heat or leave town.

    Could be merely that one or more persons wishes to do something, but is told it cannot or should not be done–
    a “revenge killing,” as it were, driven by frustration, impatience and anger.

  28. B Franklin-get past the Susan bashing for 5 minutes. Recognize what Rick was and that this city is a much better place effecitve at 10:00pm last Thursday.

    Now, if you and several other have your way, John will be Mayor in November (just say it and stop beating around the bush). And by his (John’s) actions Thursday night, Rick would still be running our city and employees into the ground. Sounds like the kind of Mayor I want….not!

    So now that it is all out in the open about John running for Mayor, when he is doing step down from his council seat as required by law. I would assume someone going around saying they are running his campaign is sure sign he is running. Better step down soon John before it gets real uncomfortable up there. You sure don’t want to be seen as someone doing something illegal do you?

  29. “B Franklin-get past the Susan bashing for 5 minutes. Recognize what Rick was and that this city is a much better place effecitve at 10:00pm last Thursday.”

    You know,

    I also

    have had a couple of jobs where I did not particularly like my boss.

    I suppose if he had been fired during my tenure, I might have taken some satisfaction in that.

    After all, we’re all just human,

    aren’t we?

  30. we called him osama menchaca. he thought he was agreat ruler but about ruled into the poor house. all about ricky all the time. if he gets a couple more settlements, he should be set for a long while. maybe after losing two jobs he will realize you dont play monopoly with human life. its not a game ricky.

  31. “You sure don’t want to be seen as someone doing something illegal do you?”

    God forbid that we might “break a rule” or go against accepted process, procedure, and protocol, in OUR city government !

    ! ?

  32. Wake up San Marcos. Do you not know Rick’s past??? This should not have been a surprise.

  33. Let’s take a look at a few of Mr. Menchaca’s statements:

    “When you’re doing an evaluation, that doesn’t sound like a very open and fair process.” Mr. Menchaca, why are you the authority on what is open and fair? Your track record is starting to falter. “I’m disappointed that she’s acted so unprofessionally in this matter,” Menchaca said of Narvaiz.. What about all the people you have disappointed? Only you would know professionalism…..Naught. You don’t appreciate anyone around you. Your employees don’t feel good working for a tyrant. Why don’t you grow up and stop blaming others for your miserable leadership skills? “I don’t think that she understands the council-manager form of government in the city charter,” Menchaca said. If you sensed that when you joined the City of San Marcos two years ago, why didn’t you make it your top goal to educate and inform her? Because you are unable to criticize yourself. “I’ve got an impeccable record,” Menchaca said. Rick, your record is scratched. Perhaps you should consider a career change. Best wishes from all your (former) employees.

  34. Were there no telecommunications between here and Midland a couple of years ago? Sorry. I just thought it normal to vet a candidate’s “style,” personality, past performance, ability to play with others–all those intangible factors that can become so important–BEFORE making the hire. Does the evil Menchaca have what all the geezers in town remember as “a mystic power learned in the Orient, the power to cloud men’s minds?” (“Radio’s “The Shadow”) And I would like to hear whether nobody at the Texas Municipal League or anywhere handy had a clue there might be a problem (These professionals and elected people do talk among themselves, it seems, in the course of business, so I have heard.). Is there in fact no trace of the prior lawsuit? The Immaculate Conception is almost as remarkable as the Summary Execution, to a tired mind like mine.

    Does it strike anyone else as curious that stalkers from Midland are still at it after this long? A mere City Manager? Could THAT be personal? Who knows? Who cares, at this point? But did anybody else notice the comment about the $500K award from Midland, that we had better “hope none of [y]our Council has done or said anything illegal?” Other than that and our long ongoing exodus of first-rate staff, there are lots of bigger issues for our community.

  35. Let’s get this straight.

    Our Mayor dictated the hiring, and bears the responsibility for influencing that decision.

    We know well, the comments and warnings that were coming in from Midland a year and a half ago.

    Either she failed to sufficiently gather the facts concerning Mr. Menchaca’s track record with regard to his last job there,.

    or she was well aware of those facts, but saw an opportunity, and hired Mr. Menchaca anyway, for the wrong reasons.

    Mr. Menchaca never struck me as just a poor guy, who was at the time down on his luck, and was really just needing a break.

    Either way, we as a city, again find ourselves on the short receiving end

    of yet another ill-planned, ill-executed, unilateral decree from City Hall.

  36. The individuals that have brought up Mr. Menchaca being fired from Midland Texas should educate themselves on the facts. A Midland Police Officer made a copy of his dash cam from his cruiser, this video featured an obese minority citizen trying to push his inoperable vehicle off of a public road. The video was put to music and circulated within the Police Department then uploaded onto the World Wide Web. The Chief new about it and then defended the officer that had prepared the video. Mr. Menchaca did the right thing by forcing the firing of the offending Officer. The Chief resigned over the incident. I for one would applaud having such a man as Rick Menchaca.

  37. Merryweather, you need to educate yourself on the facts in Midland. Correct about dashcam video. The video was passed along throughout the City of Midland, including city hall and no one had a problem with it except Rick. The Officer was not fired. Correct Rick wanted him fired (micro-managing). The Chief, by all accounts a very sharp and respected man, disciplined the officer (correctly), but refused to fire him for this infraction. Correct the Chief resigned, but again by all accounts it was a cummulative of issues with Rick, not just this one proverbal straw that broke the camels back. It would be nice if the NS folks would publish the open letter to the Midland City Council which was authored and signed by 11 of the Midland PD Command staff which led to Rick’s firing. That will set the stage about the type of manager Rick was here and how we all know “a leopard can not change its’ spots”. That letter can be found on line with a little searching.

  38. Merryweather;

    Your post illustrates that there are indeed two sides to every story.

    The puzzling issue here is that our Mayor seems to have a foot planted firmly on either side.

    If Mr. Menchaca is such a “stand up guy” as you purport (and this account would certainly support our Mayor’s hiring him in the first place),

    then why do we experience this bizarre, unusual barrage of “hate mail” from both there and here, and why is our Mayor compelled to suddenly and awkwardly recant her heavy-weighted hiring decision, by summarily firing him here and now just a short year and a half later?

    We can’t really have it both ways,

    can we?

  39. If and to the extent the Mayor and Council selected the “wrong” person, then progressive discipline should have been done, instead of dragging it out for almost two years.

  40. As we all know anyone can basically sue for almost anything. In Menchaca’s case I’m sure he can sue the city in hopes of getting a settlement similar to what he got in Midland. If I remember correctly, his contract was “terminate without cause” which means fired for no reason if that is what the majority of the Council wants to do. Good luck suing and winning that one.

    One thing I always respected the City for during my career was the attitude of fighting almost all suits brought against the PD and officers. Having been on the receiving end of one of these suits, it was refreshing to know the City would not settle because we were right. There are many cities out there that will automatically settle a suit or even a demand letter against their police department. This does nothing but encourage frivilous suits and frustrate the officers who did what they were supposed to do and did it correctly.

    Unfortunately, the City also has to work in conjunction and take advice from their insurance carrier TML. TML covers some (if not the majority) expenses of defending a suit and therefore has input on how far they are willing to go and spend defending the city. Hopefully this will not be the case with Menchaca and he will regret not taking whatever severence package was offered to him.

  41. Unfortunately since govenmental entities are using free taxpayer money to fight lawsuits, they can make very poor business decisions. Look just up I35 where Capital Metro spent $61,000.00 top not pay a $500.00 fine.

  42. Midland, Thank you for illustrating my point. It sounds as if there should have been more firings in Midland. Especially if none had a problem with the video or the circumstances of its circulation. If this was the case, as you describe it, then Mr.Menchaca did well to be distanced from the lousy people at city hall and the police department.

  43. Once more, please, for the slow people out here, like me: What, exactly, was the real cause of SM’s getting all tangled up in an old beef from so far away? Do people commute between here and Midville so as to be fully aware of the situations in both places? Was it actually the Police, or retired Police, who pressured for Menchaca’s dismissal? I’m lost here. How EVER could this messy situation have gotten started?

  44. The video incident in Midland was an opportunity for Menchaca to show his vindictive side. The police officer who video-taped the incident was one of Menchaca’s biggest critics. The officer’s mother-in-law challenged Menchaca in an open city council meeting regarding officer pay raises. Menchaca took vindictive action against the lady and her extermination company by requiring her to bid on a city contract that was previously not required. After Mencaca learned that this particular police officer was involved in the video-taped incident, he jumped on the opportunity to force the police chief to terminate the officer. Menchaca’s ploy ultimately backfired! The Chief stood up to Menchaca because Menchaca had NEVER dictated the discipline of any city employee. Those decisions were left to individual department heads. The Chief decided to retire because the Mayor and City Council failed to recognize the destructive, vindictive, leadership style of Menchaca. In spite of Menchaca, the Midland Police Department remains one of the finest in the country. Yes, there are occasional issues that are dealt with. One should judge others as they would want themselves judged. I appreciate what the Midland Police Department accomplished and continues to accomplish everyday.

  45. It must be really boring in Midland. With the Texas Water Safari starting tomorrow, I’ve already forgotten all about this issue.

  46. So, Antonio, are we to infer that you think it’s OK for police officers to post embarrassing videos of citizens around the office and on the web? From the facts that have been presented, I would say that Menchaca was completely right to demand that the offending parties be disciplined. If the Chief resigned rather than discipline one of his officers for actions like this, it should have been in shame, not protest.

  47. Half a mil is probably significant to the Midland City Council,

    but to our current leadership here in San Marcos at City Hall,

    it’s chump change.

  48. Dano, police departments use progressive discipline. In only certain cases would termination be the first step in disciplinary progression. The Chief disciplined the officer. Menchaca (because of previously described circumstances and because he was the “Boss”) thought the discipline should have been termination of the officer. As the City Manager, that is not his call. Menchaca’s micro-management leadership style never allowed his department heads to provide leadership to their departments. The officer made a mistake and accepted responsibility. There was nothing shameful of the Chief’s premature retirement. Law enforcement lost an outstanding community servant.

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