Well, just like I predicted, the El Paso City Council has offered the job of City Manager to former Irving, Texas City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.
But it wouldn’t be El Paso if everything were done according to the law. According to this story in the El Paso Times:
“They can deliberate all year if they want to on any personnel issue in secret,” said First Amendment attorney Joel White, director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “But you can’t vote. You can’t make any decision or take action in secret.”
According to the Open Meetings Act, deliberations for the appointment or employment of a public officer or employee can be held in executive session. But it also states any final action or decision or vote on the matter deliberated can only be made in an open meeting.
But that’s just a technicality, according to City Attorney Cynthia “Loophole” Borunda Firth.
City Attorney Sylvia Borunda Firth argued that negotiations can begin behind closed doors as part of the deliberation process and are not considered a final action. If negotiations are successful in this case, she said, the proposed contract will be up for council vote. The public vote to accept or reject the agreement would be the final action, she said.
“It’s just like the ballpark,” she might have added under her breath. “El Pasoans got to vote on it when they approved the HOT funding.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a city government that didn’t have to lawyer up every time they made a decision? The worst part is it makes everyone at City Hall look like a liar and a cheat.