The Case of the Missing Deputy City Manager

This week’s El Paso Inc. has another chiaroscuro report from the ever so subtle Mr. David Crowder. The article lays out the facts about Deputy City Manager Jane Shang’s unique take-the-rest-of-your-life-off $175,000 a year job.

From the Inc.:

Shang’s last public appearance was at the April 22 City Council meeting where she got into a discussion with council members about funding for the Wayfinding Project, a multi-million dollar pedestrian pathway to link a 15-block area of Downtown.

That discussion apparently put Shang at odds with then-city manager Joyce Wilson, who had given the council a different answer to the same question the day before, during the council’s agenda review session.

So if they disagree, does that mean that one of them was lying? And if it was Ms. Shang telling the truth, would she be protected by Federal Whistleblowers statutes?

It would be interesting to know what each of them said. Mr. Crowder shines the light, but he doesn’t turn over any stones.

And then this:

Shang left for an extended vacation to Europe that week. Upon her return, sources tell El Paso Inc., she was surprised to learn that Wilson had placed her on leave.

Is that retaliation? Uh oh.

And then there’s this letter, from the City to Shang.

A copy of a May 19 letter from the city to Shang that’s posted on a blogger’s website informed Shang that she was being assigned to a special project by the city manager until May 31. Also, Shang would be put on administrative leave from June 1 until Dec. 31.

Then, the letter states, “You will be placed on vacation leave from Jan. 1 through April 14, 2015.”

That day, the letter states, will be Shang’s last day of employment by the city, but her tenure with the city will be sufficient to vest her in the city’s retirement program, it states.

According to my cynical analysis, this letter looks like it’s just formalizing the City’s offer to Ms. Shang. There’s no mention here of Ms. Shang surrendering her right to sue, or the ipso facto Confidentiality Agreement. Those details are locked away in another file, one we’ll never see.

Or maybe Ms. Shang just knew too much. We’ll probably never know.

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