La Feria News

City Commission Considers Updating Antiquated Policy Manual

Commissioners Review Project Progress and Address Miscalculations in Monthly Financial Reports

by Martha E. Ibarra/LFN

city_of_la_feria_logo-300x300The La Feria city commission held a special city meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the city commission meeting room located at 115 E. Commercial Avenue in La Feria.

Following the usual protocol (invocation, the pledge, determination of quorum and approval of the minutes of the Oct. 25 meeting), the commission went on to approve a city ordinance authorizing the temporary closing of certain and specified streets during the Lighted Christmas Parade. The 18th annual parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Attorney Ricardo Navarro then went before the commission and conducted a workshop to consider a proposed updated personnel policy manual. Navarro presented, to the commission, an updated version of the city’s manual and went through several key points, answering any questions the city commission had. Navarro made it clear that an updated manual was needed because the city’s current manual had not been updated since 1990.

“When you have a manual this old, a lot of times what happens is that there are certain practices that have evolved over the handling of personnel matters that sort of take on a life of their own and they may or may not be in compliance with the manual,” said Navarro.

The commission went on to approve for the City of La Feria to renew its membership in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for 2017. City manager, Jaime Sandoval, was also designated as the city’s representative for the ERCOT membership.

Next, John Pearcy, a representative of Megamorphosis Inc., came before the commission to discuss project reports. Pearcy said that there were some projects, such as Unger Park, that were complete but were not yet closed out. Commissioner Esmeralda Lozano expressed concern about the construction companies contracted to complete these projects.

“If Northridge can’t seem to get up off their laurels and come over here and get the job done that they’re under contract for, then we just need to go to the contract, keep the money and have our public works people try to do the best they can with it. I think I trust our guys more to try to get something done,” stated Lozano.

Alex Acosta, interim finance director, then went before the commission to discuss the monthly financial reports for August and September. The commission was disappointed to learn that the previously adopted budget was miscalculated.

“You’re using numbers that don’t really add up. I think they’re basing it on previous years, which is okay, but there are certain elements that you use to make sure that you’re not going to over-estimate your revenues and under-estimate your expenses,” said Sandoval.

“To find out that the numbers were inappropriately placed, for whatever the reasons were, and they were presented to us with such confidence is another thing that we have to take active practice to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We look forward to seeing the new finance director come in and assist with this because this is really disappointing,” said mayor pro-tem Lozano.

Before the meeting was adjourned, the commission went into closed executive session where they remained for an hour. Upon their return there was no action taken on any of the items discussed.

The next city meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 6:30 PM in the city commission meeting room at 115 E. Commercial Avenue in La Feria. The public is encouraged to attend. You can review and download the agenda for that night’s meeting here.

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