On Tuesday the City Council announced that, per Tommy Gonzalez’s request, they would NOT be evaluating City Manager Tommy Gonzalez this year because Gonzalez “wants to focus on his others goals set in a personal improvement plan.” Without the evaluation, Gonzalez is ineligible for a raise.
However, that might not matter considering that TODAY IS THE DAY that the El Paso Times has been waiting for! Today is the day that Tommy Gonzalez will appear before the ethics commission. Just this past weekend, the Times published an editorial about the ethics commission where they praised them for doing “a superb job of keeping the public informed of the process,” as well as performing “admirably in the investigation of an ethics complaint filed in December by Central El Pasoan Jim Tolbert.”
Of course, this entire process has been plagued with its own issues. Stuart Schwartz, the chair of the ethics committee, released documents containing “clear and convincing evidence” to the press before they were released to the City Council. Then Schwartz requested that City Rep. Emma Acosta’s appointee to the ethics commission, Danny Anchondo, be delayed until after Gonzalez’s hearing because “We’re serving as a panel for the Tolbert complaint (on Gonzalez), working our way through it. We’ve had a number of executive sessions on it and I don’t see much benefit trying to bring somebody new into the fold at this late time.”
Ultimately, the ethics commission has little authority over the City Manager. With an elected official, it can issue a reprimand or even remove them from office. But, because Tommy Gonzalez is not an elected official, the commission can issue a reprimand or recommend his removal but it is up to the City Council as to whether or not he keeps his job. If the commission finds that Tommy Gonzalez did nothing wrong, will the El Paso Times still praise them for doing a superb job?