September 18, 2019 839 PM
ALPINE – Brooke Upchurch, the new city human-resources officer hired last month, is retiring, city officials said at an Alpine City Council meeting last week.
The action came only weeks after council in early September rehired former City Manager Erik Zimmer to the same position to replace Jessica Garza, who was terminated a month earlier.
Upchurch had previously alleged numerous problems she faced in trying to correct what numerous officials agreed was a “dysfunctional” city government.
Upchurch’s resignation is just the latest switch-up to Alpine city government. City council had been trying for several weeks to get a majority vote to fire Garza after alleging several irregularities, including the retirement or resignation of several department heads.
Megan Antrim, a former department head, had also previously resigned after a very spirited argument with Garza in an open council meeting.
Zimmer had praised Antrim as finance director for helping him get the city on sound financial footing from 2013 to 2017 after years of budget woes.
Zimmer stood by Antrim when Councilmember Ramon Olivas pressed him about this at the council meeting.
“When I interviewed with the council [in August], I said I would try to get her back,” Zimmer replied. “Numerous people in the community and other employees said I should try to get Megan to come back.”
“I was very clear in my interview it was my intention to recruit and try to get Megan back,” he reiterated after the meeting. “The council had voted 5-0 that they didn’t want her to leave” after Antrim’s resignation letter came before them, he said.
This latest personnel switch-up was another “bump in the road” but could be managed, Zimmer told The Big Bend Sentinel.
Zimmer discussed his 180-day plan, including the need to replace the “top five positions,” department heads who had resigned or retired.
He told us after the meeting that he has “good quality candidates” for four of the five vacant positions and the fifth, a building inspector, was only not filled because he hasn’t had time to talk to enough candidates for that job.
Upchurch was unavailable for comment by press time.