CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It was announced Monday that former police chief Mike Markle would be coming out of retirement to assume his previous role.
We spoke to the mayor and city manager to get a better understanding behind the search for a new police chief.
Both Mayor Paulette Guajardo and city manager Peter Zanoni said the reaction to Markle’s return has been all positive. Neither of them have heard any opposition to the rehire.
“Couldn’t be happier," said Guajardo. "I’m so excited, he’s done such a wonderful job for our police department and he will be able to continue to and that makes our city 100 percent whole... I think everyone is just, they’re elated that he is coming back and coming home as I like to say.”
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive and I told him that last night," Zanoni said. "There’s been a lot of express love and gratitude across all aspects of the community. So, we know that he’s made the right decision in coming back. And we know he’ll serve the city well again in this capacity.”
Guajardo said there were around 30 applicants and a process in place to decide the new chief. She said the city was forming multiple committees to find the right person, but since Markle approached Zanoni about returning, that process never took shape.
“No money was spent on forming the committees," said Zanoni. "It would be internal staff, we were going to have some police officer front line individuals and then community panels as well. And so all that won’t be necessary now that Chief Markle has expressed an interest in coming back.”
There were questions about Markle receiving his pension while returning to work. According to the Texas Municipal Retirement System, his payments will be suspended until he re-retires. Zanoni said the city will start contributing again, should his appointment be confirmed on July 27.
“We’re a regional leader when it comes to public safety in the Coastal Bend region," said Zanoni. "And so we knew it’d be a tough transition to go from that to working for a private industry. And so, as time progressed he finally said you know what I want to come back.”
It will take a majority vote from city council next week to approve the re-hire of Markle and he would start immediately.