BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The City of Brownsville City Commission has named Helen Ramirez, AICP, as the new City Manager for the largest city in the Rio Grande Valley.

Brownsville boasts a resident population of more than 186,000. The City of Brownsville has 1,200 employees.

Ramirez, who had been serving as interim city manager, was selected from more than 30 candidates that applied for the position and was one of two finalists. 

She brings more than 20 years of experience in municipal government, urban planning, and economic development, including ten years of experience working in the private sector. 

Brownsville leaders say that while working for the city, Ramirez has been instrumental in accelerating economic growth, downtown redevelopment, overhauling development codes, preparing the city’s first Mobility Transportation Plan and strengthening its organizational culture.

“The City conducted an extensive search for the right person to bring the right leadership and the right experience for the City of Brownsville,” Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said.

“Helen by far exceeds those expectations. She is an outstanding leader and brings an extraordinary approach to municipality management, economic development, and strategic leadership. I look forward to continuing working with her and seeing what great accomplishments she will bring next to the City.” 

Ramirez said she was honored to be appointed.

“It is an honor to be appointed as the city manager for the largest city in the RGV. A community that is authentic, international, and culturally rich,” Ramirez said.

“We are witnessing a positive inflection in our history where we are strengthening our economy, creating employment opportunities for our intergenerational workforce, building upon our Strategic Vision that values Quality of Life, and creating a legacy for generations to come.” Serving alongside over 1,200 dedicated and talented employees is a privilege, together we will continue to build our future, On the Border, By the Sea, and Beyond.”

In a post on LinkedIn, Ramirez said she was honored to be named the city’s first female city manager and currently the only female city manager and one of the few Latino city managers in the top 18 most populous cities in Texas. “Here is to diversity in city leadership and government,” she wrote.

Before serving as interim city manager of Brownsville, Ramirez served as executive director and CEO of the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation.

GBIC’s executive director, Constanza Miner, issued this statement about Ramirez’s appointment:

“The Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation board of directors and staff would like to congratulate our former executive director, Helen Ramirez, for being selected as the first female city manager for the City of Brownsville. Thank you for your leadership, we wish you all the best in your journey to represent our beautiful city.”

The previous city manager for Brownsville, Noel Bernal, resigned last June to take up the position of county manager for Adams County, Colorado. Brownsville City Commission immediately hired executive recruitment firm Mosaic Public Partners to help perform a nationwide search for city manager candidates.

The search committee comprised of members of the Brownsville community and three Brownsville city commissioners. A comprehensive background investigation was undertaken of those who applied, along with an extensive interview process involving the City Commission.

The City received 32 applications, of which four candidates were internal. After a rigorous screening process of the candidates by the search committee, four candidates were selected based on applications, resumes, and experience for interviews with the search committee. Of these four candidates, the search committee selected two finalists to submit to an interview with the City Commission in early January. Ramirez emerged as No. 1 choice.

Ramirez was hired by the City of Brownsville in March of 2019 to serve as deputy city manager. She later served concurrently as the head of GBIC. Prior to joining the City of Brownsville, Mrs. Ramirez served communities in Central Texas and Southern California.

Ramirez holds a Bachelor of Science in City & Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. She has earned an American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification and is working towards an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification. She participates in the Texas City Managers Association (TCMA), is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). She formerly served on the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (RGVMPO).

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