Anali Alanis becomes Acting City Manager of Pharr, the first woman to hold the position
The city of Pharr named former deputy city manager Anali Alanis as acting city manager this week following the resignation of Andy Harvey.
Alanis’ appointment to this position proved to be a historic decision as she became the first woman to hold this position in the city’s history.
She was appointed acting director at Tuesday’s regular meeting of commissioners following the resignation of the chief constable. He had been city manager since April 22 after the resignation of former city manager Ed Wylie. He continued to serve as the city’s chief of police throughout his tenure as city manager and will now resume that role full-time.
Although her appointment took place on Tuesday, it wasn’t until Friday morning at a 9/11 memorial service that she realized the historic significance of her new role.
“I was thanked on stage for being there”, recalls Alanis. “They said, ‘We want to congratulate Miss Alanis on being the first woman in the history of the town of Pharr as town manager. It just hit me like cold water. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m the first female city manager in this amazing city.’ I am beyond humbled to be that person.
“People always say stop and smell the roses,” she continued. “I couldn’t stop and smell that particular rose.”
Alanis is originally from Nuevo León, Mexico. She moved to the United States when she was 12 years old.
“I was bullied here, like a lot of people here who come from Mexico,” she recalls. “I always tell people if you notice an accent, yes, English is not my first language. That didn’t stop me. I kept going anyway.
She went on to earn an associate’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in applied technology management from South Texas College. She went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2016.
October will mark 16 years since Alanis began her career at Pharr City. She was first hired as a payroll clerk, before taking on the position of human resources coordinator in 2007.
In 2015, Alanis was appointed Director of Human Resources before being promoted to Deputy General Manager in 2019.
“She knows the city very well as an organization and how the structure has changed over time,” Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said. “She’s been in different roles, and she’s absolutely served in a great way as deputy city manager. It was only natural for her to pursue her next calling – professional growth.
Hernandez acknowledged the story behind Alanis’ nomination, but said it had little to do with the city commission’s decision.
“It wasn’t the source that guided us to choose her,” Hernandez said. “We chose her, quite frankly, because of her credentials and her background. It’s a plus that she’s had a leadership position within the city, now as a full-time city manager, and for her to be the first female mayor of the city of Pharr. That’s awesome and we’re thrilled for her.
With the eyes of the city on her, Alanis said she plans to continue moving the city forward and instilling an organizational culture that strives for excellence every day.
“My heart is for the city of Pharr,” said Alanis. “I always tell people I bleed blue because it’s our colors, not because of the Cowboys – let me clarify. (Citizens) can expect to have a transparent, open-minded and innovative person who will continue to move the city in a different direction and put Pharr on the map in every positive way we can.
Harvey also praised Alanis for her new role. He said the city is in very good hands with Alanis stepping in to take up her old position.
“We’re in good hands,” Harvey said. “She has been with the city for many years and she is totally committed to making the city better. I’m here — we’re all here to support her and ensure she’s successful in her new role for as long as she’s in it.
With his resignation, Harvey will now be able to focus more on his true passion, which is being chief of police in the town of Pharr.
“What I really, really believe in my heart is that everyone in the organization needs to be in the right seat on the right bus,” Harvey said Friday. “Over time, it became more apparent to me that the best seat for me on that bus was with the chief of police. It doesn’t mean anything bad, it’s just that there’s a better place for me here, and I really believe that.
“I love the police and I love what we’ve done here.”