Maldonado was asked to resign, Wilson quit

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

Just three weeks after the city council voted to hire a new city manager, former Interim City Manager Ruben Maldonado and Assistant City Manager Sara Wilson are no longer employed by the city, officials confirmed Friday.

Maldonado's employment with the city ended Wednesday morning, and Wilson resigned from her position Thursday afternoon, City Manager Albert Uresti said Friday. Maldonado was the city's human resources director.

Uresti declined to comment on the reason that Maldonado's employment with the city came to an end, and referred all questions regarding the issue to City Attorney Joe Torres III.

"He no longer works for the city," Uresti said. "And if he wants, he's going to be given the opportunity to resign."

When asked whether Maldonado had asked for the "opportunity to resign" or if he had been fired, Torres would only state that he had "been given the opportunity to resign."

Torres and Uresti also declined to answer questions related to whether Maldonado had any reprimands in his personnel file or was the subject of any allegations of wrongdoing.

"We can't talk about his personnel file," Torres said.

The Alice Echo-News Journal has filed an open records request for Maldonado's personnel file, and that request was still being reviewed by Torres Friday afternoon, city staff said.

Maldonado has not submitted a letter of resignation to the city, Torres said.

"You have to see it from our perspective," Torres said. "Whenever someone leaves the city, the city has to be very careful."

Uresti said no one has been appointed as an interim human resources director, but the city would begin advertising for the position in the next few days.

On Thursday afternoon, Assistant City Manager Sara Wilson submitted her letter of resignation, effective immediately, Uresti said.

Torres and Uresti said they were not aware of the reasons for her resignation, and said she had not given any indication she would be resigning in recent weeks.

"Everyone here is an at-will employee," Torres said. "They don't need to give any notice."

Uresti and Torres said Wilson had not been asked to resign.

"We were sorry to see her go," Uresti said Friday.

Torres declined to provide a copy of Wilson's resignation letter Friday, and the Alice Echo-News Journal has filed an open records request for the letter of resignation.

Torres was reportedly reviewing that request Friday.

When asked if the change in staffing was related to his employment with the city, Uresti said he was looking forward to creating his own "team."

"I think anytime a new city manager comes in, he wants to develop his own team, a team he feels can help the city," Uresti said. "The citizens hired me to do the job, and in order to do the job effectively I have to surround myself with a good team. And if employees resign, then that's their choice."

Maldonado was hired by the city as human resources director in 2004. The city council appointed him to replace former city manager Pete Anaya in January, and he officially took over as interim-city manager Feb. 1.

On July 9, the city council voted to hire Uresti as city manager, and Maldonado returned to his position as human resources director on July 10.

Maldonado had been a finalist for the city manager position.

Wilson was hired by the city in November 2006.

Messages left on Maldonado's cell phone were not returned Thursday and Friday.

A home number for Sara Wilson was disconnected Friday and no other phone number was available for her.