Documents reveal Palmview suspended police chief after investigation – Progress Times


The city of Palmview briefly suspended Police Chief Gilberto Zamora last month after an internal investigation found he had purchased several trucks from a dealership where his son works.

Palmview purchased three 2021 Chevrolet Silverado trucks from Mission’s Bert Ogden Chevrolet in August, according to documents released under the Texas Public Information Act.

The papers indicated that her son was the seller. It is not known whether or not her son received a commission on the $ 155,000 deal.

“While I am not free to discuss details on personnel matters or specific internal matters related to a specific purchasing matter, I can simply speak to the importance of adhering to state law and to local purchasing policies and procedures, ”said City Manager Michael Leo. in a report. “Naturally, these policies and procedures are in place to help us protect the process of buying with taxpayers’ money – they ensure that the goods and services we buy stimulate competition, that the process is fair and transparent, that ‘there are no personal interests in the procurement process. , and that our taxpayers are able to hold our spending accountable. It is always essential that employees adhere to these practices.

Palmview suspended Zamora without pay for three days and placed him on probation for six months. Zamora, however, has denied any wrongdoing.

“He wants his suspension overturned,” said Edinburgh lawyer Javier Peña, who represents Zamora. “He wants this removed from his file.”

The controversy began in August, when city council authorized the Palmview Police Department to purchase three new Chevrolet Silverados.

Mission’s Bert Ogden Chevrolet has agreed to sell the Palmview trucks for nearly $ 52,000 each, according to documents released under the Public Information Act. Palmview traded in three Ford F-150s, which reduced the total cost to nearly $ 101,000.

City council members unanimously approved the purchase on August 24. Palmview wrote a check two days later.

City manager Michael Leo was unaware that the documents listed Zamora’s son as a seller.

Leo found out on August 30, according to the internal investigation, which the city released under the Public Information Act. He asked Zamora about the purchase.

Zamora admitted he did not follow purchasing procedures, forcing the city to seek quotes from three dealers, according to the internal investigation.

When asked if her son was the seller, Zamora denied.

“No. It would be a conflict,” Zamora said, according to the internal investigation. “I made sure it was not on any of the papers.”

The documents, however, made it clear that her son was the seller.

Faced with this information, Zamora asked the city to contact “CP” – the person Zamora believed to be in fact the seller – to clear up the confusion.

“Legal counsel calls CP and the dealership and confirms that ‘Gilbert Zamora, Jr.’ is in fact the seller of record ”, according to the internal investigation, which identified“ CP ”only by his initials.

Peña said Zamora told Bert Ogden Chevrolet that his son could not be involved in the sale, but his son’s name still ended up on the paperwork.

The Progress Times contacted Bert Ogden Chevrolet, but the dealership referred a reporter to the company’s marketing department, who did not respond to a request for comment.

Palmview concluded that the deal created “a potential conflict of interest” and punished Zamora.

The city also rolled back the Bert Ogden Chevrolet transaction and bought the trucks from Edinburgh’s Fiesta Chevrolet instead, saving the city about $ 18,000, according to the internal investigation.

After the city suspended him, Zamora blamed city councilor Joel Garcia for the decision.

“Mr. Garcia tried to mount a scandal involving a brawl in a bar, in which the chef did not participate. This attempt failed,” according to a grievance filed by Zamora in mid-September. “Sir. Garcia then sought to make an issue of the purchase of the three trucks, which the City voted to approve and which was approved by the state.

Zamora claimed that Garcia interfered with the affairs of the police department.

“I think the biggest problem is: we have tapes of him asking the chief to do all these illegal things,” Peña said. “We have text messages. We have records. We have it all.

Garcia said he never asked Zamora to do anything wrong.

When people call him, Garcia said he is bringing their concerns to Zamora and other city officials.

“As a citizen. Not as a city councilor, ”Garcia said. “Because at the end of the day, the people of Palmview are our bosses. “

Garcia also asked why Zamora only complained after the city suspended him.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Garcia said.

Garcia criticized Peña for making up false claims.

“He knows there is nothing there,” Garcia said. “But he wants to slander me.”

Peña said Zamora can prove everything alleged in the grievance, which is supported by tapes and text messages.

“With what we have, he shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office,” Peña said.

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