Stick around until the end and I'll tell you why a lot of people are wrong about this Jim Darnell thing. You are missing a big point and all jumped to the wrong conclusion.
I almost don't know where to start so this post is likely going to be all over the place. The fact that council hasn't put the city manager on administrative leave represents a complete failure on their part to start rebuilding the trust with this community that has been damaged.
But the fact that Gonzalez has the nerve to go on vacation now, is an embarrassment. When your bosses aren't happy with you, the last thing you should be doing is going on vacation. You should be the star employee until it all blows over. You should be the first one in and the last one out.
This is Marie Antionette "Let them eat cake" and Nero fiddling while Rome burns all in one.
There has to be a reason council is not putting Gonzalez on leave and I think the reason is fear. No I don't think that Jim Darnell is the reason. Council and their middle ground approach aren't what is in the best interest of the community.
I think there are members of council that have some compelling reason to protect Gonzalez's position. Why else would they stand idly by while scandal after scandal keeps happening right under their noses?
We should take note of who is, and who isn't, protecting Gonzalez.
Romero Resignation Requests
To further underscore my little theory about why Gonzalez is being protected I present the fact that council appears more than willing to take unprecedented steps when it comes to their embattled colleague Larry Romero.
I've never heard of council asking any of its members to resign from a responsibility that they have as a member of council. That is a new one.
So they feel there's enough questionable activity to ask their colleague to step down from some of his duties but they can't managed the ONE employee they over see between the 8 of them?
Asking Romero to resign some of his responsibilities is the one good thing council has done. 'Bout time they should some balls.
But doing so without explaining why is not fair to Romero or the community. The truth is, if you have the dirt to do that to Romero you have the dirty to do the same to Gonzalez.
Bottom line is Romero is in trouble. Whenever this council pulls their head out of their ass and gets an ethics commission together they will get a baptism of fire. They will immediately have to tackle a tough and controversial issue that would impact the political life of Rep Romero and Tommy Gonzalez.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I don't see how Romero actually survives this term and I stand by that. Council all but asked him to resign over the ever-mounting scandals involving Romero and Gonzalez.
Remember when this all started and he downplayed his connects with Romero? Then after the roads thing we found out his brother worked for the city manager. Then hump gate. Then after that the financial manager thing. Now we hear how Romero was doing his taxes.
Quick sidebar. Romero did his taxes for less than $200. Most people I know that make big money, which admittedly aren't many, use CPA's, not book keeping services. But hey, what do I know, I'm not rich.
But it reminded me of another parallel to the county corruption scandal that also involved an elected official that inexplicably and suddenly wanted to change to a new financial manager from the very same one the city has over a ballpark construction project. The elected official, one Anthony Cobos, was also a book keeper guy that did people's taxes.
Any who, back to the rant.
Rep Romero hasn't commented about whether he is going to comply with the request to resign. If he does, he looks weak. If he doesn't, he looks obstinate and the mayor can replace him anyway. He's at that point in the chess game where all he has left is his king and he's just making moves to get out of check but the loss is inevitable.
He has no effectiveness left. If he truly believes he was elected to do the best he can for his constituency then he should take the holiday season to reflect on whether he really has any ability to be an effective representative for his district. Their needs do go away just because he's compromised.
Gonzalez and Darnell
So a lot of people think the appearance of prominent attorney Jim Darnell at a council meeting was a big deal. And I guess it is, sorta. I mean I've never heard of a city manager retaining a lawyer that wasn't the city attorney. So yeah I guess its newsworthy.
Some have suggested it was meant to be a shot across the bow at the city council. Sort of a show of strength on the part of Gonzalez as to say look who I got on my side.
The reality is that all roads lead to the same place.
I think its a matter of time before Gonzalez is gone and he's the second coming of Jim Valenti. He can't afford to leave El Paso because no one else will hire him at the ridiculous amount of money we put up to sign him.
But I don't think Darnell was meant to show council that he had a fancy schmancy lawyer and they had better make sure they do things right because he's gonna make sure Gonzalez gets paid.
If it were one of the more well known employment attorneys in town I might think that. But Darnell isn't a lawyer that specializes in employment law.
What does Darnell specialize in?