Ray Mondragon has served as the city manager since 2001 and worked for the city for 30 years.
By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer
As a young boy, Ray Mondragon picked onion and cotton fields as a migrant worker’s son. At 16, he took a job as dispatcher with the Clovis Police Department. He worked his way through the ranks to become police chief.
He was named city manager in 2001.
Monday, he announced his resignation from city employment effective Dec. 17.
Mondragon has been named manager for area economic development at ENMR Plateau, a communications company serving 13 counties in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.
Mondragon moves to the private sector following 30 years with the city.
“The employees and citizens of Clovis that gave me the opportunity to serve as city manager, I want to thank them personally,” Mondragon said. “I’ll still have my hand in the community’s pulse, there is no doubt about that.”
The city commission is expected to approve the resignation at Thursday’s meeting, Mondragon said. He said he will recommend the commission appoint Assistant City Manager Joe Thomas to interim city manager until someone is named permanently.
Clovis Mayor David Lansford said the City Commission will likely enter into a closed session Thursday to discuss the replacement process. He did not say how long it will be before a decision is made.
“I think being the city manager in Clovis will be an attractive job,” Lansford said. “The city has a lot of positive things going on and it is not like someone will be inheriting or taking on a disastrous situation.”
Mondragon served 27 years with Clovis police, starting as a dispatcher in 1974. In 1993 he became deputy chief of police. In 1999 he was named chief of police before becoming city manager in June, 2001.
“I never thought in the world that I would be chief of police and retire, or that I would be managing the town that I was born and raised in,” the Clovis High graduate said. “I am very proud of that.”
Mondragon, 46, has earned a police pension but will leave a $95,000 salary behind. Though he would not comment on whether his pay will be more or less, he called the offer from ENMR Plateau “very appealing.”
Mondragon will be a catalyst for increasing economic growth opportunities in all service communities of ENMR Plateau, according to a press release from the company.
Chase Gentry, executive director for Clovis Industrial Development Corporation, said Mondragon’s expertise in promoting Clovis will be missed.
“He was very instrumental in the Southwest Cheese project and the financial package we put together,” Gentry said. “The city manager sets the pace for the whole city … he is the person that is out there every day, talking to people, representing the community at functions and throughout the state.”
Mondragon said he is most proud of the city’s advances in technology, passing of gross-receipts tax and economic prosperity.
“When I started here in 2001 we had a lot of empty buildings. Now the Hotel Clovis building is the only large building still empty,” Mondragon said. “I hope that when I am gone my legacy will be: Hey, that Mondragon gave us hope and vision and growth in this community.”