The City of Nogales has tapped a police officer to fill a high-ranking administrative position at City Hall while the mayor and council search for a new city manager.

Since Oct. 7, Lt. Robert Thompson has been the acting deputy city manager, according to Human Resources Director Carmen Fuentes.

That means he’s filling in for Deputy City Manager John Kissinger, who has been serving as acting city manager since Frank Felix left that job Aug. 2.

Fuentes said that Thompson’s new assignment is temporary. Kissinger is expected to return to the role of deputy city manager once a new manager is hired.

During his time as acting deputy city manager, Thompson is being paid at an annual rate of $80,695, a raise from his annual salary of $62,957 as a police lieutenant.

The NI initially heard that an assistant had been hired for Kissinger and tried to confirm that information with the city’s HR department on Oct 21. But Fuentes wrote in an email on Oct. 22 that “there is no new employee or assistant position to the manager’s office.”

After Thompson’s name and new role appeared on the city’s website, the NI confirmed on Nov. 4 that he had, in fact, been made the acting deputy city manager.

In a follow-up phone call, Fuentes said that she thought the NI’s Oct. 21 inquiry hadn’t been related to Thompson’s current position.

His new temporary assignment was not discussed at any recent city council meeting.

Kissinger said that he chose Thompson for the role “because I felt he would be the best person out of our organization to help me manage the affairs of the City of Nogales until the city manager is brought on.”

The council is expected to discuss the city manager search at its next meeting on Nov. 13.

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