The city of Edinburg is looking for a new police chief who will be fair and equitable through all levels of the police department.
“The selected candidate will be a person of integrity who cares about people and has a proven record of building a positive, engaging culture, and who leads by example both within the department and in the community at large,” the job advertisement states.
The Texas-based company Strategic Government Resources posted the advertisement on its website Wednesday afternoon.
The city contracted with the firm, which specializes in recruiting government executives, to find candidates for the position.
City Manager Ron Garza fired former chief Cesar Torres on May 21.
Torres, who started in January 2019, faced the adverse action following an April 7 neutral arbitrator’s ruling that he retaliated against two officers for their membership and activity in a police union.
There are two rival unions in the department, the longer-standing Edinburg United Police Officer’s Association, and the Edinburg Police Organization, which was formed several months after Torres took the job.
The officers who were retaliated against belonged to the Edinburg United Police Officer’s Association.
In his letter terminating Torres, Garza also cited several other grounds and poor decisions he said the former chief made, including a failure to collect names for a raffle during a promotion using an ice cream truck to increase census participation and for allowing an officer to appear in a Christian-themed rap video on YouTube.
Torres and the city are involved in two legal fights because the former chief filed two lawsuits after being placed on administrative leave with pay following the ruling, with one petition alleging political retaliation and another alleging retaliation for whistleblowing.
Whoever replaces Torres will lead a department of 161 officers and 63 civilian employees.
They will also take over a department that has faced a divide for more than a year after the Edinburg United Police Officers Association filed a lawsuit that ultimately revealed acts by Torres of favoritism and retaliation based on union support for or opposition to his leadership.
In an eight-page brochure that features photos of officers, city hall, police at a community event and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley water tower advertising the position, the city bills itself as the gateway to South Texas.
“At the northernmost point of the Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg is the gateway to South Texas and the county seat of Hidalgo County,” the brochure states. “Edinburg’s proximity to the border offers opportunities for recreation, travel, and business in both Texas and Mexico.”
The city describes itself as “safe, family-friendly, educated, and passionate.”
The brochure also boasts of the city’s schools and health care options, including Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance, Edinburg Regional Medical Center, Valley Care Clinics, Family Medical Center, South Texas Health System Clinics and Cornerstone Regional Hospital.
“Edinburg has an exceptional entertainment, arts, and recreation scene. Community and special events highlight the region’s vibrant cultures,” the brochure states.
The city also touts its outdoor recreational activities and its business community, citing its access to Monterrey, San Antonio and South Padre Island.
The position includes 14 essential duties related to managing the police department, interacting with city governance and community involvement.
There are also opportunities and challenges laid out for the candidates, including meeting the demands of a growing community, team building and police neutrality.
One of the challenges listed for the new chief is fostering strong community relationships and partnerships across police union affiliations.
The city manager told Torres in his termination letter that the union disputes and his actions as police chief contributed to a bitter fracture in the department.
“The new Chief of Police must be politically astute without being political. Edinburg has a City Council that is very passionate about the City and is very engaged with its residents and its employees,” the brochure states.
The city says the ideal candidate for the role is a servant leader who has an inclusive management style and strong interpersonal skills.
“As the leader of a well-respected and important department in the City of Edinburg, the Chief of Police must actively display fairness and equitability across all levels of the Department,” the brochure states. “The selected candidate will be a person of integrity who cares about people and has a proven record of building a positive, engaging culture, and who leads by example both within the department and in the community at large.”
The job description calls for excellent communication skills and for an evaluation of the police department’s existing programs and procedures.
“The ideal candidate will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the Department’s existing programs and procedures and act as a change agent, when necessary, not just for the sake of change,” the brochure states.
The city also wants the next chief to recognize the values of the community and to be dedicated to hire officers who represent Edinburg in the same way.
Whoever the city hires will also have a high priority once taking the job.
“A high priority for the next Chief will be to develop strategic goals and implement new or revise outdated or unclear policies,” the brochure states.
The city manager’s termination letter to the former chief noted he failed at objectives related to police department policy updates.
“This will help to ensure optimal department morale and officer engagement, and lessen the uncertainty that often comes with a change in leadership,” the brochure states.
The salary for the position is between $100,000 and $130,000, depending on education and experience.
The posting will be open for 30 days and the first review of applications is scheduled to occur on July 16.