MONIQUE BATSON — City leader’s career reflected in his accomplishments, relationships – Port Arthur News

MONIQUE BATSON — A mayor’s career is reflected in his accomplishments and relationships

Published Friday, December 30, 2022 at 12:02 AM

I first met DE Sosa in 2004 when he became editor-in-chief of the Mid-County Chronicle (rest in peace). Sosa had only been mayor of Groves for about a year at that point, which I didn’t know at the time. From the first time we spoke, it was clear that he was very knowledgeable about city government and the Southeast Texas region. I found out later.

So as I sat in his office surrounded by cramped boxes on Wednesday, I couldn’t help but immediately feel what he had to lose. He was a staple of mine while we were there to reflect on his career. No matter what publication I worked for, Sosa was my go-to for nearly 20 years. Grove He was always happy to answer my questions whenever I called, whether in the city of Sussex or in surrounding towns. And if for some reason he didn’t know the answer, he would point me in the direction of someone who did.

He did the same with those who worked around me.

And on December 22nd, when he signed a separation agreement with the city at a special meeting convened, it became clear that he was that person to many.

I arrived early and still couldn’t find an empty chair in the council meeting room.The 22 years and two months I’ve been attending city, county, and school board meetings. I can’t remember attending one that was at capacity.

The overflow room, which is the main entrance to the city hall, was also filled with dozens of people who rushed to support.

Among them were Nederland City Manager Chris Duque and Port Neches City Manager Andre Wimer.

Later I joked with the publisher that I was one of the mayors missing the full set because I work with city officials in Mid and South counties.

I shared my comments with Sosa on Wednesday, and he laughed and started talking about how closely local city managers work together. I didn’t know there was. The relationship has solved several problems and created a cost-effective means across the Mid-He County area, he said. Not surprisingly, city and school officials across Mid and South Counties are closely intertwined and often work together for both efficiency and support.

When I walked through Sosa’s office on Wednesday to find him and Fire Chief Lance Billow, who will become interim mayor on January 4, after Sosa’s final days before retirement, that community’s support has been proven to be true.

“You have both outgoing and incoming,” Sosa said with a laugh. “You can buy two for the price of one.”

Billeaud has worked for the Groves Fire Department for 25 years and is also the city’s emergency management coordinator, so the two have worked together throughout Sosa’s career.

And before I even stepped into that room, the respect the two shared for each other was evident. He told lawmakers:

And when Sosa and I talked about his career and Billow left the room to answer the phone, the resigning city manager took the time to tell me how great Billow was and how perfect he was for the position. We talked about there being

Prior to the meeting, I read an article published in the Port Arthur News in 2003, the year Sosa took office. It mentioned several picture frames he had around his office and said he plans to add more.

On Wednesday, as the others were still lingering around the room, the box beside me was full of framed photos.

“One thing I’m not looking forward to is cleaning up this office in 20 years,” he joked. But he smiled as he talked about a new chapter filled with his family and “lots of baseball games.”

Sosa, thank you for telling us your story. And thank you for being a big part of me.

Monique Batson is the editor of Port Arthur Newsmedia. Her contact is her

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