On December 5, I requested the employment contracts for City Manager Tommy Gonzalez from the City of El Paso via the Texas Public Information Act.
I read them to my kids at bedtime. It works.
Mr. Gonzalez was originally employed in 2014, and his initial employment agreement was dated May 20, 2014, and his contract renewal was dated December 11, 2018.
There are some interesting differences between the two agreements. Some of the more interesting are defined in Section VI. Termination & Compensation Upon Termination.
6.1.c.(2) defines the criteria for which the City Manager may be terminated for Good Cause.
The 2014 Employment Agreement lists fourteen reasons that the City Manager may be terminated. The 2018 Agreement lists only seven.
Imagine that. Half the criteria which constituted good cause for dismissal disappeared!
Insubordination or failure to comply with any lawful written Council directive;
What? Insubordination, or not doing what the City Council tells him to, is not grounds for dismissal? Have you ever had a job like that?
Drunkeness or excessive use of alcoholic beverages or other intoxicating substances, including misuse of prescription medications;
Well, that one is a little broad. I assume that Mr. G must tie one on in the privacy of his own home, probably falling into a bottle of Scotch with regular frequency. Doesn’t Tommy look like a Scotch drinker to you?
Immorality, which is conduct that is not in conformity of the accepted moral standards of the community encompassed by the City. Immorality is not confined to sexual matters, but includes conduct inconsistent with rectitude or indicative of corruption, indecency, or depravity;
Imagine that! Conduct indicative of corruption, indecency, or depravity is no longer good cause for dismissal of the City Manager!
Assault on an employee or citizen of the City;
And then there’s this one:
Conscious misrepresentation of material facts to the Council or other City Officials in the conduct of the City’s business;
This clause is especially significant, given that City Council depends on the City Manager for the information on which they base their decisions. If he can lie to Council with impunity, he can lead them anywhere he wants them to go.
Imagine City Council approving those changes to the City Manager’s Employment Agreement. What were they thinking? Let’s hold the City Manager to a lower standard? Let’s cut the leash? Let’s abdicate our responsibility to hold the City Manager accountable?
Theoretically, City Council is supposed to direct the City Manager. Like the Board of Directors directs the Chief Executive Officer of a corporation, City Council is supposed to direct the City Manager. Somehow that relationship got flipped.