Texas town's choice for city manager has lengthy criminal history

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by Dillon Collier / KENS 5

khou.com

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 9:15 AM

PEARSALL, Texas -- The Pearsall city council will meet Wednesday night to hammer out the details of the contract for newly hired city manager Richard Alvarez, whose been arrested at least five times in three Texas counties, according to court records obtained by the I-Team.

Alvarez's selection as city manager, a position the city's website describes as being CEO of the city, has divided this community of nearly 10,000 people.

Alvarez's arrests span nearly 30 years, and include charges of assault in Bexar County, public lewdness, theft and drug possession in Travis County and assault in Hidalgo County.

Richard Alvarez is the brother of former Pearsall mayor Al Alvarez.

"You don't know what kind of mind he has as a convicted criminal. You don't know what his thoughts are," said former Pearsall resident Margie Gallardo, who moved to San Antonio a few years ago.

"Is he going to strangle you at that moment? Is he going to go off on you?"

Court records indicate the Bexar County assault charge and public lewdness and theft charges in Travis County were dismissed.

Richard Alvarez served one year probation in 2001 for the drug charge and two years probation for the Hidalgo County assault conviction starting in May 2011.

Richard Alvarez currently works for Hidalgo County, according to Carrasco, who could not recall what relevant work experience Alvarez has for the city manager position.

Despite these legal transgressions and a perceived lack of experience, Richard Alvarez beat out 17 other applicants for the position.

"He was homegrown. He was born and raised in Pearsall, he knows what our problems are and that's the only reason," said Pearsall City Councilmember Conrad Carrasco.

Carrasco said the city conducted its own background check on Richard Alvarez.

The I-Team spoke with the other finalist for the position, San Antonio attorney Brian David Smith, who has a masters degree in urban planning, is a member of the state bar and has been admitted to practice law in Federal Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Richard Alvarez is expected to receive a salary between $80,000-$90,000 a year plus a car and phone allowance.

Richard Alvarez did not return a message left by the I-Team at both city hall and his parents' home in Pearsall.

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