EDINBURG, RGV – Ramiro Garza has assured his many admirers and supporters he is not leaving the Rio Grande Valley despite announcing his resignation as city manager of Edinburg.

The City of Edinburg issued a news release about Garza’s departure on Tuesday. Garza has agreed to stay at the helm of the Valley’s fastest growing city until the end of the year. After that, he says, he wants to spend more time with his family and pursue other endeavors, possibly in the private sector.

“September 1 marked 15 years working for the City of Edinburg. There is never a good time to leave a job you love but over the summer I talked to my family and made the decision to try something new,” Garza told the Rio Grande Guardian.

“Being a city manager requires a lot of time and dedication. I have two little ones and I want to spend more time with my family. I want to pursue other endeavors. It was a difficult decision because I enjoy what I do. It has been an honor and a privilege to work for the city but I have decided to step down and let someone else come in and do this. I am pretty excited about it. I am not going anywhere. I will continue to live here in the Valley. I want to help it continue to grow but in a different capacity.”

Garza has had job offers from outside the Valley before, from cities much bigger than Edinburg that could offer him a much bigger remuneration package. However, he has always turned them down.

“I have never applied for anything else and have been 100 percent committed to the city. I have had opportunities to work elsewhere but I have always stayed truly to the city. My passion is to help the Rio Grande Valley grow and be the best it can be. I think I will continue to do that. Hopefully, I will be able to do it across the entire South Texas area. I want to explore the opportunities,” Garza said.

Garza has been city manager since 2009. Before that he headed the city’s economic development team. He took a sabbatical in 2012 to run in the Democratic Party primary for the new Congressional District 34, anchored in Cameron County. Garza’s family comes from Port Isabel. The election was won by attorney Filemon Vela of Brownsville.

Asked if he might consider running for Congress again, Garza said: “I am always looking for opportunities if it means helping this area grow and helping it get the opportunities it deserves. I am going to be open to that. I do not have any plans at this point to run for Congress. I am hoping to get going on endeavors I have wanted to do in terms of going to the private sector. If the opportunity presents itself, I am never going to step away from ways to help our region. That is my passion.”

Asked what his proudest achievement was as either city manager or economic development corporation executive director, Garza said: “If I had to pick one achievement, at the top of the list has to be the UTRGV and the Medical School. Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia asked me to the liaison for the upper Valley cities in negotiations with the chancellor of the UT System and with Dr. Kenneth Shine. So, helping to craft the MOU to make sure we got the medical school, not just for Hidalgo County but for the whole region, that has to be my proudest achievement. It is something that will have a major impact on this region for generations to come.”

Garza is currently chairman of the Rio South Texas Economic Council. He has served on the board of the Texas Economic Development Council, the Workforce Solutions board, the Interstate 69 State Advisory Committee, the Women’s Business Center board, and as director of the Texas Lyceum Organization.

Garza refuted claims that his resignation had anything to do with reported disagreements between different factions on Edinburg City Council. “Everybody has been very gracious and kind. People have asked me to change my mind and stay. I want to thank the mayor and the council and all those that I have served over the years. I am not leaving the area. My kids are in school here. I am now looking forward to helping the entire South Texas area as opposed to being only within the city boundaries. I want to be able to apply all the experience I have gained to help the entire region.”

Mayor Richard Garcia said: “I am very sad about Ramiro’s leaving. I understand that everyone has to move on and better themselves. We are very grateful to him for all he has done for the City of Edinburg. The level of work he brought to this city is incomparable to other cities and certainly to Edinburg’s history. I trust that the professional team that he has put together and has become Edinburg’s forte can be duplicated in the future. We lost Ramiro once before and we had one of our own step up to the plate. I would hope and trust that he or someone of his caliber would be willing to take the reins once again.”

Garcia said the city council will take its time with the selection process to find a replacement for Garza. “We want to ensure the right person is selected for the position,” Garcia said.

Blas Castañeda of Laredo worked with Garza on economic development and workforce training issues when both were members of the Texas Border Coalition. Castaneda chairs the TBC’s workforce training committee.

“There is always a time when we must move on and the Lord has gifted us with many, many life empowerments and Ramiro is one of those leaders that leads with a quiet but powerful passion,” Castañeda said.

“I really enjoyed Ramiro’s leadership style that has real human values and high respect for others in our communities in Texas and, of course, our neighbors in Mexico. It is very hard to lead without respect to others.”

Castañeda said he valued his friendship with Garza even though they do not see as much of each other these days.

“Ramiro seems to always have a clear vision and cares about an issue, our systems or a subject at hand. We honor such leaders and respect them even though they come from other communities simply because they work as a great team leader for all concerned. He really understands that we must all work together to achieve what is best for our communities, Castañeda said.

“Ramiro will be a major asset in whatever he pursues as a leader with a vision to excel and a passion to dedicate to a community. He is highly creative with much intellectual drive and best of all a human being that commands respect. Having a definite purpose to help build capacity is a jewel anywhere. I wish the best for Ramiro, his family and his communities he has a passion for.”