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Next city manager should focus on El Paso duties only, mayor says

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- As the City of El Paso does a nationwide search for the next CEO of city government, there's one thing Mayor Oscar Leeser tells ABC-7 he would do differently.

ABC-7 learned former City Manager Tommy Gonzalez did consulting work for the City of Durango, Colo., while he was working for El Paso.

It was after council notified Gonzalez he was fired in February, and before his departure in June.

We obtained documents from Durango showing Gonzalez was awarded a $35,000 contract to review financial policies, procedures, and practices; assess financial resiliency; and provide recommendations and guidance. These documents were dated while Gonzalez was still working for El Paso in March 2023.

ABC-7 has confirmed Gonzalez's contract had a clause allowing him to "serve as consultant, and/or undertake speaking engagements, writing, teaching or other duties..." provided they didn't interfere with his job here.

"I would not like to see that unemployment again, I think it's important that we don't have that outside consulting in any future contracts moving forward," Mayor Leeser said. "And I said that'll be up to council as a whole, but I will not support if it is on the contract moving forward."

The mayor said Gonzalez notified council of the work in Durango via email. Still, that's not something Leeser wants to see in a contract again.

"City council, as a whole, will have that determination, but I believe that that needs to be taken out of the contract and moving forward, we need to have a city manager who focuses on the City of El Paso and the City of El Paso alone," the mayor added.

Also worth mentioning: the mayor was the tie-breaker in the February 28 city council vote to fire Gonzalez without cause.

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Larry Monarrez

Larry Monarrez is ABC-7’s assistant news director.


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