In its editorial, “El Paso deserves better leadership“, the El Paso Times editorial board took the City Council to task and accused them of “poor leadership at City Hall.” This article was fascinating in the way that it twisted facts (many of them reported by the El Paso Times in other stories) in order to come to its conclusions. Here are some of the parts that we found interesting:
- “The Ethics Review Commission stopped short of the most severe sanction – recommending that Gonzalez be terminated over the ethics failures.” But that isn’t true, according to their own story on the ethics commission’s actions: “Schwartz said the letter of notification is the lowest of four levels of sanctions the commission can enforce. The next level is the letter of admonition, followed by a letter of reprimand and the highest level is a recommendation for removal from office.” So, in fact, the ethics commission issued the 2 lowest sanctions available to them. We would think ‘stopping short’ would be to issue a level 3 sanction, at least!
- “A day before the ethics sanctions, the council decided not to give Gonzalez his annual performance evaluation because he asked them not to. That is some major league shirking. The council in February passed a 13-part motion aimed at addressing a number of deficiencies identified by independent investigator Ross Fischer; many of the items remain unaddressed months later.” Tommy Gonzalez’s Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) was finalized on March 15 (according to the El Paso Times) and, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, “PIP timelines are commonly 60 or 90 days in length.” The fact is, we don’t know what kind of timeline was placed on the PIP and NEITHER DOES THE EL PASO TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD AND they didn’t bother to find out! Their critique may be valid, but NOBODY KNOWS.
- “When challenged on these failures, Gonzalez has been evasive or pointed the finger at city employees, deflecting blame from himself.” While this may be Gonzalez’s management style, “Sutter [El Paso CFO]told the commission he was responsible for the approval of unauthorized funds for the repaving of an alley in Romero’s district, as well as for the use of unauthorized funds to install speed humps on Stanton Street.” (You can read the KFOX story here). So, in this case at least, Gonzalez didn’t point the finger, someone stood up and took the blame.
We get it, the El Paso Times doesn’t like Tommy Gonzalez. They don’t like that he got a raise last year, they don’t like that he owns a house in Dallas, they hate his big stupid face and they aren’t going to be happy until he is fired. They 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.” That didn’t get them what they wanted, so now they are publishing an editorial about the “poor leadership at City Hall.” Who cares if they twisted the facts to prove their point, it’s not like they’re journalists or anything.