I'm absolutely certain this post will set off another one of David K's famous posts where he defends Larry Romero, pretends everyone in El Paso thinks the city manager is worth the money we are spending on him.
Then sprinkles in some conspiracy theories where everyone from the County Judge to Elmo from Sesame Street is an "Ordazian".
But I'm sure from where ever the Juicy One calls home these days that he has some reason to try to push the narrative that people are just out to get the city manager. But the El Paso Times ran a very interesting article about how at least three members of council wanted harsher sanctions against Gonzalez.
Unlike DK, their article is based on facts uncovered by an open records request. So lets have this conversation within the context of facts and not DK's knee-jerk responses to my social media commentary.
The term performance improvement plan as a specific implication which is why Gonzalez has pulled out all the stops to change what it is called. The fact that this seems to have happened unilaterally should concern council, but I think the mayor specifically.
Its borderline insubordinate but at the very least, in practical terms, undermines the mayors authority. The article underscores a litany of problems with the city manager. And lets dispense with the argument that this is an HR issue. The reality is that he is the ONE employee council over sees and therefore by definition has a different system for performance evaluation than anyone else. His contract and raise were a matter of public record.
Saying that council is just mad because Gonzalez did what he was told is completely divorced from reality.
Gonzalez's biggest supporters on council have been Representative Noe and Representative Acosta. They also happen to be the biggest supporters of Larry Romero.
One of Gonzalez former biggest supporters was City Rep Cortney Niland. Turns out two city reps on council actually wanted to go so far as to reverse his $61,000 raise - Niland and Limón.
So here is the point this builds to - whether its Gonzalez's raise or the salary Romero has been keeping - its not about the actual dollar amount. Its about the principle.
Romero, in an interview last week with KVIA gives probably the most indignant answer to keeping his salary despite the fact that he resigned by stating he'd return the money when other members of council return their salaries for meetings they have missed.
THAT IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT.
Enough of the whole "feel sorry for me because of my health" line now. Any goodwill he might have had with the public because of that is completely negated when you give an answer like that. Missing a meeting is a very different conversation than a guy who resigned because of his health, still works at his business, and takes a trip to see the Master's Tournament.
Its not about the dollar amount, its about telling the El Pasoan in District 2 that pays his salary to go fuck themselves. And make no mistake, that is exactly how it sounds to everyone else.
But kudos to Maria Garcia from KVIA for going to his office to try to get the interview.
Almost as bad as Romero's answer is Rep Noe's continued defense of Romero. Remember, this is the guy that went from calling the street thing "corruption" to saying there was no wrongdoing within 24 hours with no explanation whatsoever of such a complete 180-on the issue.
In the same story Garcia interviews Noe and he very smugly replies that Romero receiving the pay is because of the system that is in place and that if you don't like the system, change state law.
Council has the power to make sure he doesn't receive a check from taxpayers, you don't have to change any laws. Garcia should've called him out on that.
And all of this is completely over looks one really important point.
HE DOESN'T HAVE TO TAKE THE MONEY.
The fact that he does, irrespective of the amount, says more about Romero than the letter of reprimand that found that he did intact violate three items.
I personally am looking forward to watching how Romero's two big council supporters scramble to justify tax-payers giving him a salary now that we know there is a mechanism in which council can prevent him from getting free tax payer money.
One last thing, how come Noe had such a different take on this story when Darren Hunt did the story on Romero missing a meeting because of his health issues while he was in fact at the Master's Golf Tournament? In that story acknowledged he would have to rethink supporting Romero's paycheck. Now he's saying you have to change state law. You don't, but that is what he is saying.
Bottom line here is that Noe and Acosta are really hurting their own political clout and it doesn't seem to make sense why. Look, its okay in politics to acknowledge a mistake.
Sticking to your guns out of pride isn't strength, its a weakness. No one but Romero thinks its a good idea that he receives a paycheck after clearly sending the message that he doesn't intent to return to work. But then again, he's the vato that thinks its okay to pave an alley for political contributors.
And since when does an employee like Gonzalez get put on a performance improvement plan, and then change it to something else, and there be no ramification for that action?
Who does that?