If City Council decided to fire City Manager Tommy Gonzalez for not doing his job, and he fought his termination in court, who would represent the City?
The City Manager is the City Attorney’s boss. She might not put in her best effort to fire someone she has worked with so intimately. Remember, the City Attorney used to report to the mayor, but now she reports to the City Manager. That’s just another innovation that happened at City Hall since Mr. Gonzalez became City Manager.
The City often contracts with Kemp Smith, and Kemp Smith specializes in helping corporations fire employees, but Kemp Smith might have worked with the City Manager on just the lawsuits that might get him fired. They’re conflicted out.
The City Manager makes more than $400,000 a year. He’s got deep pockets. He’s sure to hire the best lawyers money can buy.
Who would the City hire?
It might just be best to give him his golden parachute and walk away. Run the City without a City Manager for a little while, and see how it goes.
How much worse could it be?
Whatever gets us rid of him and this very expensive cost of government is going to get my vote!
Maybe we need to work on a ballot initiative to establish a ‘mayor-council’ system of government (also called a strong mayor system) to eliminate the City Manager position ($404k plus benefits) and his five deputy city managers (~$200k each?). You are right, Rich, about the incestuous protection system now in place, but I believe the problem is more than the person. It is the structure. After all, while the first City Manager improved some efficiencies and professionalized government to some extent, she also oversaw the demolition of city hall and the science museum and so many other ‘downtown development’ follies.
Changing the structure is absolutely the solution…who would take the lead? a few Council members might help. Without this change El Paso will have a dysfunctional government, and we’ll all be the poorer for it – well, MOST of us will!