Was moved to Rec Center by interim CM Maldonado two weeks ago

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

Assistant City Manager Sara Wilson returned to her office in Alice City Hall Monday, two weeks after she was moved to the city's recreation center following her request for an investigation into actions by interim city manager Ruben Maldonado.

On Friday, April 27, Wilson sent a memo to Maldonado and the city council, calling attention to purchases made from a company called Economy Awards.

"This memo is to inform you that I have requested an internal audit and review of purchases made from vendor Economy Awards. It has been brought to my attention that each purchase directly benefits your spouse, and therefore is a conflict of interest and a violation of our purchasing ethics," Wilson wrote. "I have also been informed that you are now in your current position directing staff to purchase awards from this company.

"I am also sending this information to the Texas City Manager's Association for review, as I believe, if validated, these activities have also violated the ethics policy of our state association."

The following Monday, on April 30, Wilson received a letter from Maldonado informing her that she was being reassigned from her office in city hall to an office in the city's Rec Center, located at the corner of Cameron and Seventh Streets.

According to the letter, the purpose of the move was to "bring additional administrative presence to our Parks and Recreation Department that has numerous on-going projects."

The specific projects listed in that letter that Wilson was to oversee included the Fiesta Bandana and the construction of new restrooms at P.S. Anderson Park.

Reached at her city hall office Monday, Wilson said work on the fiesta had concluded, but that construction on the park restrooms was not yet finished. Wilson said she believed she would be able to adequately oversee the completion of that restroom project from her city hall office.

Maldonado also wrote that Wilson would be expected to continue to attend all staff meetings and city council meetings, but that her "working day" would be at the recreation center.

"When your presence at the City Hall building is needed you will be so notified," Maldonado wrote.

In a letter written to the Alice Echo-News Journal May 4, Maldonado denied his motivation for moving Wilson was connected to her request for an investigation, and said the move was necessary because her city hall office was needed for workers who were conducting the May 12 city election. In that letter, Maldonado said his intention was always to have Wilson return to city hall following the city election. Maldonado also denied any improper action was taken on his part regarding the purchases from Economy Awards.