Editor’s Note: This story originally report in error that, on July 2, the City of La Marque, Texas, publicly announced Aragon’s hiring, effective Aug. 25, to a top law enforcement position in that city. Two days after the story posted, Commissioner Aragon sent a text (click here to read it) to Sun editor Diana Tittle, stating he was still in discussions with La Marque on July 2 and that his hiring took place on Aug. 25, the day he signed his contract. Tittle double-checked the City of La Marque website, where the hiring announcement was posted, and discovered that she had misunderstood the date of the posting. The Sun regrets the egregious error and apologizes to Aragon for overstating the delay with which he announced his departure. The story’s headline, which originally stated “Hired for a Texas post in early July, Commissioner Randall Aragon announces resignation this week,” and its text have been changed to eliminate the erroneous information.
Truth or Consequences City Commissioner Randall Aragon broke a well-kept secret in announcing his resignation from the commission at the body’s regular meeting on Wednesday. The timing of his public announcement of his departure for a new job in Texas means his successor will be appointed by his fellow commissioners, not elected by the T or C voters.
Aragon has been hired by the city of La Marque, Texas, where he had previously served as chief of police, to oversee La Marque’s police department’s community outreach program. He will also head special initiatives undertaken at the request of the city council and city manager.
Chaise Cary, La Marque’s interim city manager, posted the announcement of Aragon’s recruitment on that city’s website on July 2. [Correction: The date July 2 appeared at the top of the page on which the hiring decision was announced, but that announcement was (less prominently noted) a Sept. 2 update to the original July 2 posting reporting on leadership changes in city government.] According to the announcement, reposted in its entirety below, Aragon was to begin work on Aug. 25, almost a month before he announced his departure from elected public service in T or C.
Explaining why he had accepted Le Marque’s job offer to his fellow city commissioners on Wednesday, Aragon noted: “It’s nice to be wanted.” When a councilperson with whom he had worked became La Marque’s mayor, Aragon said in an interview yesterday with the Sun, he let the city’s former police chief know that “we need you back.”
Aragon was T or C’s chief of police from July 2018 until his firing for unstated reasons by then City Manager Morris Madrid in September 2019. He was elected to the T or C city commission in the spring of 2020. His term as president of the T or C Rotary Club recently expired, and he will be replaced by President-Elect Virginia Hicks. He also taught special education classes at Hot Springs High School.
On behalf of La Marque, a city of 14,500 in Galveston County, Texas, south of Houston, Interim City Manager Cary gave Aragon a warm, public welcome back. In his July 2 posting on the city’s website, Cary announced:
Effective August 25, 2021, a professional consultant was hired to work directly with the City Manager, Interim Police Chief and the Emergency Management Coordinator as necessary to assist with overall strategic operations. Randall Aragon has been named Chief Public Safety Operations Advisor/Special Assistant to the City Manager.
Chief Aragon served as the Chief of Police in La Marque from 2009 to 2014.
He has 39 years of civilian law enforcement experience, of which 29 were served as a Police Chief. For police operations, Chief Aragon and Chief [Chad] Waggoner will have equal and partnering roles in management of La Marque Police Department.
Chief Waggoner will focus on administration, personnel and facilitates. Chief Aragon will focus on community outreach, and initiatives set forth by City Council and the City Manager’s office.
Aragon has earned a Bachelor’s in Business Management, a Master’s in Management, is a graduate of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) National Executive Institute, and is a Texas Master Peace Officer. He has served as a management consultant and criminal justice advisor for numerous municipalities, police agencies and educational institutions.
He is an avid runner, passionate about littering and dumping programs, and plans to bring a comprehensive Community Policing Program back to La Marque. He and his wife are moving back to Texas to assume this role.
Aragon’s seat will be filled in accordance with the provisions in the Truth or Consequences Municipal Code, section 2-29. It states: “Vacancies in the Commission, shall, by majority vote, be filled by the remaining Commissioners for the period intervening between the occurrence of the vacancy and the next regular election.”
Discussion of the vacant seat may be on the commission’s agenda as early as its next regular meeting on Oct. 13, according to the city clerk’s office. Aragon’s appointed successor will serve out the two years remaining on the seat’s four-year term. Mayor Pro Tem Amanda Forrister also has two years remaining on her term; the other three seats on the commission are up for election in November.
Aragon informed the high school of his planned resignation on Aug. 25, giving the required 30 days’ notice of his voluntary termination of employment. Today will be his last day at school, he said, and he will leave for La Marque, where he has been consulting since Aug. 25 primarily by phone, on Saturday.
Aragon told the Sun that he informed T or C City Manager Bruce Swingle of his intention of resigning from the city commission “about two and a half weeks ago.”
Early July 2 was the deadline for the Truth or Consequences City Commission to submit a resolution to the county clerk declaring the number of commission seats that would up for election in November. Such declarations must be officially filed no later than 120 days before an election, according to state law.
If Aragon’s planned departure had been made public in T or C when his negotiations with La Marque grew serious, the notification might have come in time to allow his seat to be declared open and the voters to elect his successor. Now, as events actually transpired, Forrister and lame ducks Paul Baca, Frances Luna and Sandra Whitehead (the three commissioners whose seats are open) get to decide who they want to represent the people of Truth or Consequences.