April 26th is the day set for the ethics commission’s hearing regarding El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. Earlier this month, the ethics commission concluded that former District 2 representative Larry Romero used city resources for his own benefit. Since Romero had already resigned, all the ethics commission could do was issue a formal reprimand letter which he signed and agreed to. Presumably that will be the end of all of this for Larry Romero. However, if the dollar amount involved in the reprimand is high enough, there is the possibility that Larry Romero could face criminal charges. Still no word from either the Texas Rangers or current DA, Jaime Esparza, regarding possible criminal charges resulting from the Ross Fischer report.
Now the ethics commission is turning their attention to Tommy Gonzalez. According to the El Paso Times, “The city’s ethics investigator has found “clear and convincing evidence” that City Manager Tommy Gonzalez violated city policies and procedures regarding streets resurfacing and the installation of speed humps in front of Cathedral High School.” Gonzalez’s attorney has released his list of witnesses who, according to KVIA, will testify about street list and the speed humps, not the aborted search for a new financial advisor. His witnesses include: Monica Lombraña, the Director of Capital Improvements with the City of El Paso; Dr. Mark Sutter, the City of El Paso’s Chief Financial Officer; Ted Marquez, the Director of the City of El Paso Department of Transportation; Former City Representative Ann Morgan Lilly; Richard Bristol, with the city’s street and maintenance department; and City of El Paso Chief Internal Auditor, Edmundo Calderon.
According to the El Paso Times: “The commission could recommend a number of sanctions against Gonzalez if it finds he violated policies or rules, but only the City Council can make decisions about his employment with the city.”
You can read the entire letter from Ross Fischer to Gonzalez’s attorney here.