The City of Brownsville is hosting a meet-and-greet Monday afternoon for community members to provide public comment on the three candidates for city manager.

Finalists Noel Bernal, Juan Guerra and Jesus A. Garza will be on hand from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Brownsville Events Center to meet Brownsville residents, who will be able to fill out comment cards that will be reviewed by the City Commission the following day when commissioners privately interview the three candidates.

Guerra is the Pharr city manager. Bernal is a deputy city manager in Coppell, Texas, and Garza is the Kingsville city manager.

Cover letters obtained by The Brownsville Herald shed insight into why Guerra, Bernal and Garza are seeking the position.

Bernal said Brownsville is a historically significant community that is on the cusp of tremendous transformation.

“With bi-cultural traditions and its recent economic development success, there is momentum and a strong desire for further economic prosperity,” Bernal wrote. “This is a special time and I am excited about the opportunity to serve the community as its next City Manager.”

He said he believes he is a strong candidate because of his professional experiences along with organization leadership and strategic planning skills.

"There is a unified commitment to build on the community’s history while harnessing the potential for being the preeminent community of choice in the Rio Grande Valley,” Bernal wrote. “It is this, and similar efforts, that provide the stability necessary to propel Brownsville forward in a cohesive manner.”

Garza, who grew up in Brownsville, said he understands the unique challenges Brownsville faces.

“For instance, I fully understand that the socio-economic status of many Brownsville residents does not lend itself to any major tax increases,” Garza wrote. “I understand that economic development is a challenge and that leveraging the city’s workforce, airport, history, culture and downtown are key elements in overcoming some of those barriers.”

He touts his work maintaining the existing tax rate while incorporating many new services in Kingsville.

“These enhancements have come from the reallocation of existing resources and efficiencies stemming from the infusion of technology and other 21st century processes,” Garza wrote.

His letter also states that he knows workforce development could be greatly improved through stronger partnerships with local educational institutions.

Guerra said in his cover letter that he is well-educated and is a diversely experienced executive in small, medium and large organizations.

“My work history is full of successful instances of proactive and innovative productivity,” Guerra wrote. “I offer expertise in strategic planning, trade and intergovernmental relations, economic and industrial development, fiscal administration, progressive management, regional collaboration, and organizational development.”

In his letter, Guerra said he knows and appreciates Brownsville, its culture and the quality of life it provides.

“I would humbly ask that you consider my complete application for this important position; it would be an honor to be considered for the position of City Manager for the great city of Brownsville,” Guerra wrote.

[email protected]

Staff Writer Nadia Tamez-Robledo contributed to this report

Source: The Associated Press

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