Pharr settles with ex-city attorney as administration remains in flux

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The city of Pharr reached a settlement with its former city attorney last week, another in a number of moves involving high-ranking officials within the past two months.

During a city commission meeting Wednesday, the city approved a settlement with former city attorney Patricia A. Rigney for a total of $400,000.

The settlement obtained by The Monitor shows that Rigney received $50,000 for severance payout for lost wages and $350,000 for “alleged emotional distress and other non-wage damages.”

The city discussed the settlement in executive session during Wednesday’s meeting before it was unanimously approved. A personnel action form obtained by The Monitor shows that she was terminated for non-disciplinary reasons.

Rigney had been appointed to the position of city attorney on June 20, 2016. She was in her second four-year cycle, which was set to expire on June 20, 2024.

The meeting Wednesday was also the last for Interim City Manager Anali Alanis, who submitted her letter of resignation on June 20 of this year. She was appointed to the position in September of last year following the resignation of former City Manager and police Chief Andy Harvey.

Alanis expressed gratitude to Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez and the city commission in her resignation letter, who she said were supportive of her throughout her 16-year career with the city.

“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I have made the decision to explore other professional opportunities,” she wrote. “As such, please accept this letter as formal notice that I am resigning from the position of Interim City Manager effective two weeks from today.”

Two days after Alanis’ last day, the city announced the hiring of Alton Assistant City Manager and police Chief Jonathan B. Flores to the position of ​​assistant city manager.

Amid the moves made by the city, many questions linger around the employment of former Deputy City Manager Ed Wylie and his new role with the city.

Wylie retired from his former position in April before being brought back as a consultant. The details of that consulting role have yet to be revealed and are currently the subject of an opinion sought from the Texas Attorney General following a public information request The Monitor submitted on June 8.

Wylie had been accused of sexual harassment by a city employee prior to the unanimous approval for his new consulting role.