Skip to Content

Former Sunland Park Official Defends Reputation

Former Sunland Park city manager Andrew Moralez is defending his reputation after being named several times in the 80-page report from the state special audit.

State officials said if Moralez was still city manager, they would have suspended him based on their findings, but Moralez told ABC-7 he was just trying to clean up the mess left by his predecessors.

Moralez was hired as city manager in Oct. 2010 and he was fired by the city council after just ten months of work. He said the trouble began when he started investigating and trying to fix problems that had plagued the city for years.

“There was a culture within that city government as to how it operated. That culture said this is the right way to do things when it was wrong,” Moralez said.

Moralez said he came into a city full of nepotism, missing paperwork and overpriced contracts. He said he was determined to fix that.

“I was contacting contractors and asking them for the deliverables and making sure we had copies of them to make sure we were paying who we were paying. The issue was that a lot of times there were documents missing, contracts missing,” Moralez said.

When Moralez started to make changes, he said that’s when the problems started.

“There was a lot of resistance to change, not only from elected officials but some of the employees. It was a very, very tough job. I knew that my days would be numbered,” Moralez said.

The special audit report mentions Moralez’s name several times for not providing valid support for approved payments made from the Border Crossing Fund. That fund is the same one that the report states former mayor pro-tem Daniel Salinas allegedly used to pay for prostitutes in Mexico.

Moralez said it was hard to keep up with the large workload he faced every week.

“Yes, I did make mistakes, but when you take on a mess that I walked into, some things are going to get past you,” Moralez said.

He is also mentioned for not signing off on purchase and check orders.

“There were some documents that I refused to sign because I didn’t believe in them. I didn’t think that they would fulfill the need for the city, and in some cases I thought they were overpriced. In other cases they were redundant,” Moralez said.

Moralez said he doesn’t have an issue with the audit results. In fact, he thinks it was a long time coming and will be good for the city.

In the end, Moralez didn’t even make it to a year in his position, and he said it’s because he ruffled a few feathers trying to take the city in the right direction.

“They never gave me a reason, but it all happened the time that I fired city attorney Frank Coppler and started these investigations and wouldn’t agree to fire other people. I was told to fire and get rid of some people without any reason,” Moralez said.

City councilor Carmen Rodriguez was on the council at the time of Moralez’s firing.

“Daniel Salinas had a lot of influence on Moralez being fired,” Rodriguez told ABC-7.

She said Moralez was fired after the city council was told he’d denied what could have been a multi-million dollar project for the city. After he was fired, that allegation turned out to be false.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content