Embattled City Manager Tommy Gonzalez kept a speaking date with City Rep Emma Acosta's community meeting last night despite an ethics violation being filed against him and City Rep Larry Romero yesterday.
I had a chance to ask him about it. My beloved camera is dead, so I only have audio but you can hear his response a little further down in the post, along with a hilarious response to a question he asked the audience that I'm guessing he wishes he hadn't asked.
He asked what people think of when they think of El Paso and people started to itemize a bunch of negative stuff including several people saying "corruption".
Before we get into that let me say this about the city manager. He showed up, he knew he was going to be asked tough questions, and he stood there and took it like a man. He was poised and never appeared to be too rattled. He also had to put up with something that annoys the crap out of me that happens with Acosta's meetings more than any other city rep for some reason, though its not her fault. For some reason everyone that asks a question feels they need to give a long effin' speech before they get to their damn point.
Shut up, no one cares about young long boring speech. Just ask your freakin' question and shut up so we can hear the answer.
But I will highlight one person in attendance that annoyed me more than most, some lady named Diamond, but I'll get to her in a bit.
I learned a few things about the City Manager I didn't know before this meeting:
- He apparently played ball in college.
- He is a retired colonel, but didn't say if he was full-bird or a LTC and didn't say what branch but I still was unaware of that before.
- He has a black belt in 6 sigma.
- He and his wife lost twin boys.
The short of it is that Gonzalez basic stock answer to the many questions that almost all seemed to float around the stuff that has been reported is to essentially say he does favors for all the city reps and that he's simply being responsive to the will of council members.
I guess he thinks we don't know the difference between city reps bringing constituent issues like potholes and broken sidewalk complaints and circumventing established city procedures to install speed humps, pave alleys, and replace the city financial advisor.
A Diamond is Tommy's Best Friend
So there was this lady that I thought was working for Acosta because she was signing people in when I arrived at the meeting but it turns out she doesn't. She looked familiar but I couldn't quite place her at first. But later during the meeting when she spoke thats when I remembered her.
Her name is Diamond something or other. I didn't catch the last name.
She stood up in the meeting to basically chastise the audience and defend Gonzalez. She implied that the people in the audience don't know how city government works and said that we should actually attend meetings to learn how it works and what the city manager does. But she proceeded to try to explain to the audience what the city manager does and said that he only does what he's told to do.
Here's her little speech.
Which was hilarious because she was basically wrong. She's a huge cheerleader for the city manager. I remembered where I'd seen her before when she started defending the city manager. She's the lady that went to the microphone, along with Dan Olives and a few of the rich guys in town, to say City Rep Ordaz raising the issue of the city manager's raise was "an embarrassment".
Her lack of knowledge about what his role is was astonishing. There's a reason its called the City Manager and not the City Guy-Who-Does-Only-What-He's-Told-To-By-Members-of-Council.
He's the highest level employee in the city.
Capo dei capi.
The Head Vato in Charge.
The big Kahuna.
All the city employees other than the city attorney's office answer to him.
Hell, he's getting heat for ordering an RFQ without authorization from council. Maybe she missed that part.
Now that I think on it, in light of all that is coming out now, I wonder if all those people that went to council to advocate for the raise and called the conversation about the reexamining the raise and embarrassment still think the raise was a good idea.
Meh, I guess thats a post for another day.
But I was trying to think of just the right phrase to capture Diamond's defense of Gonzalez last night and the only one that comes to mind is "an embarrassment".