2016-10-26 / Front Page

EDC director resigns job after DWI arrest in Hidalgo County

BY TONY VINDELL
Reporter


CATALINA OZUNA 
(Courtesy of Hidalgo County Jail) CATALINA OZUNA (Courtesy of Hidalgo County Jail) The director with the Economic Development Corp. of Raymondville has resigned from her job two days after she arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Catalina Chapa Ozuna, AKA Catalina Ozuna, was arrested Saturday in Hidalgo County and was brought to the Hidalgo county jail by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper at 8 a.m., jail records show.

She was released from jail about 1 p.m. on the same day on a $1,000 surety bond.

On Monday, Ozuna turned in her resignation, effective immediately, as EDC director.

The EDC board met later in the day during a regular meeting.

Ozuna did not attend the meeting.

No one mentioned what had happened to her even though Ozuna used to give an economic activity report during each meeting.

Mayor Gilbert Gonzales, who also serves as chairman of the EDC board, said Ozuna’s resignation came at a time when the city has been experiencing a slight increase in business activity.

“For the corporation this shouldn’t have happened,” he said on Tuesday, sitting behind Ozuna’s desk in the EDC office of the Raymondville Rural Technology Building on FM 3168. “There are rules and regulations we have to abide by, specially on this type of job.”

The mayor said Catalina was not told to resign.

But by doing so, he said she doesn’t qualify for unemployment benefits.

Ozuna, who was promoted to EDC director about three years ago, was making about $50,000 a year, including fringe benefits.

Gonzales said Ozuna has said she was offered a job in Brownsville with a private enterprise.

Her arrest Saturday wasn’t Catalina’s first unfortunate encounter with lawmen.

On October 2013, she was arrested and initially charged for lewd behavior by Harlingen police outside Cinema 10.

But after she hired a McAllen attorney, the Class C misdemeanor charge was lowered to disorderly conduct.

The EDC board suspended her for four months without pay and she got her job back with the condition that she was to take a growth development course for six months.

Her job was to be reevaluated after that, but no action was taken afterwards.

Former Mayor Orlando “Lonnie” Correa said at the time the incident was “an embarrassment” for both the city and EDC but expressed support for her .

And early this year, Correa came to her defense after the board discussed Ozuna’s job when she made comments about the director of the Rio Grande Valley Institute and the health-care facility in Weslaco.

Ozuna’s resignation came on the same week the EDC’s receptionist, Clarissa Nieto, is leaving after five months on the job.

Nieto said she has accepted a job in Harlingen.

Gonzales said Nieto’s job will be temporarily filled by a person recommended by Texas Workforce Solutions,

As to the EDC director vacancy, he said they are going to start looking to hire some one to take the now-empty seat left by Ozuna.

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