The Sonora City Council met for a special meeting on Monday, July 12, 2021, and voted to dismiss Police Chief Jerzy Bider for cause.

City Manager Art Fuentes would not elaborate on the reason for the firing, saying only that it was a private personnel matter.

Mayor Gomez called Monday’s meeting to order, offered a brief prayer, then took the council into a closed-door executive session. Upon returning to open session, the council voted unanimously to terminate Bider’s employment.

City Manager Art Fuentes will fill the role of police chief, something he has done before.

Fuentes noted that the city will not be posting the position at this time and said he will be overseeing the training of newly hired police officers.

Fuentes said the decision to release Bider was a difficult one, but that ultimately he and the city council had to do what is best for the city.

“I wish him (Mr. Bider) well, this is a hard thing to do from one law enforcement leader to another,” said Mr. Fuentes who went on to explain that Sonora will be OK because the police department has hired new officers, including a canine officer. He noted that the city employees are good at their jobs, making it possible for him to fill both roles.

Bider was police chief for nearly two years, however, prior to his appointment, Fuentes was filling both the role of chief of police and city manager. Fuentes explained that new officers have been very successful in assuming their new positions; they have been patrolling and even working extra hours through the Stonegarden Program which is aimed at combating narcotics and illegal immigration.

Fuentes will be staying on top of ongoing investigations during the transition, noting that the Boss Hog burglary is ongoing and is a collaborative investigation between the police department and the sheriff’s department. Officers are pursuing leads and processing evidence that will hopefully lead to an arrest, he said.

When asked about a person who was reported to have claimed to be the Sutton County Sheriff, both departments reported that they are continuing to investigate the matter in hopes of making contact with the person.

A few reminders to citizens were offered. First, please report any suspicious activity as soon as possible, and do not open doors to strangers.

Additionally, if there is a law enforcement officer at your door you should be able to see their patrol vehicle outside.

The council then moved on to address budget workshop items.

Mayor Juanita Gomez presided over the meeting with council members Harold Martinez, Lionel Cervantez, Jr. and Mike Sanchez in attendance.
The next meeting of the city council will be held on Monday, July 19, 2021 at 6:00 in the council chambers located at City Hall.

These meetings are open to the public.