“You’re Fired!”

The El Paso Times reports today that mayoral candidate David Saucedo wants to fire the heads of the City’s permanent bureaucracy.

“First things first, the city attorney is gone,” Saucedo told the El Paso Times Thursday. “The minute I win, she (City Attorney Sylvia Borunda Firth) is gone and I will move to not renew (City Manager) Tommy Gonzalez’s contract.”

Saucedo, 32, who faces Dee Margo in the June 10 run-off election, on Thursday released a “100 Day Plan” that outlines his priorities if elected.

“Remove and replace toxic leadership at the City Manager, City Attorney and Department Head levels of the City of El Paso,” one of those priorities states.

When we switched to the City Manager form of government, El Pasoans were assured the move would provide “continuity.” The City Manager would assure that our rotating panel of elected officials wouldn’t disrupt any long-term plans.

In other words, reduce our elected officials to figurehead status, their political power neutered by an entrenched bureaucracy bent on implementing inherited policies.

Of course, things change. “Stay the course,” is not always the best solution to current issues.

The problem is that the bureaucracy has a structural advantage with access and information. The City has thousands of employees and a billion dollar budget. Usually the City is the elected officials’ only source of information for policy implementation and changes.

And confidentially, our elected officials are not always the sharpest knives in the drawer. Mostly, they’re affable. Affability is a key characteristic for getting elected in El Paso. And affable politicians aren’t likely to contradict their handlers. Especially when their handlers are their only sources of information on arcane subjects.

The problem is exacerbated by the lack of a major adversarial medium in El Paso. Our English language daily is in lockstep with city management, perhaps because, through the publication of Legal Notices, the City of El Paso is one of their major advertisers.

All of that might not be a problem, except that our appointed city leaders have a track record of lying when it’s more convenient. You’d think that our elected officials might have noticed that by now. But maybe they don’t read El Chuqueño.


  1. Saucedo comes across like a clueless idiot with his 100 day plan. It is the textbook definition of pandering because regardless of how toxic the leadership may be he has zero power to actually get rid of any of the people he says he wants to fire.

    I don’t disagree that a lot of things should/could change at City Hall but they aren’t all the hired leadership’s fault. For too long we’ve been the worst example of a “democratic” city by confusing needs with wants and insisting that we need super high-end olympic pools, hispanic cultural centers, children’s museums, lush green parks and playing fields (in the desert) and oh yeah we also want all the roads to be fixed and taxes to be lowered and and and and…

    Everyone from the mayor on down needs to learn to say “No” to constituents and other members of the public instead of hiding behind “this was approved by the voters”. They also need to explain learn to honestly explain why things are done a certain way. I’ve personally seen City Reps and City staff bend over backwards for the loudest and most obnoxious factions within the City and completely ignore common sense or logic. I could go on for hours about the different ways that the City could be more efficient and improve the services they provide to the community before even touching on firing anyone.

    That’s what makes Saucedo’s comments so asinine. Apparently he didn’t pay attention to how hard it was to find a new City Engineer (it took over a year iirc) not that long ago. He hasn’t paid attention to how challenging it is to find folks who are actually qualified to take on some of these really thankless jobs. Yes the jobs pay fairly well, but the amount of stress and frustration inherent makes them tough (Especially when you factor in our collective inability to say “No” or prioritize needs vs wants like adults). Going back to the City Engineer example, why would anyone with those credentials want that job when they could make more money being less frustrated?

    Look at how many Dept Head openings we currently have. Who in their right mind would think that the best thing to do was to kill morale and insinuate that they were going to go after all the “toxic” leadership? Given that he can’t even make any decisions about that all he is managing to do is stress out City staff and pander to voters who are dumb enough to believe that he’s going to somehow magically fire everyone they don’t like. The truth of the matter is that he might not ever get a chance to vote on getting rid of the City Attorney or City Manager. Given that the City Manager answers to City Council if enough of them support him/her it’s possible that no Dept Heads would be fired either.

    So what does all his posturing do aside from pandering?

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