mor_nil_gonzlzI have shown you through various examples how Bob Moore lacks journalistic ethics. I have also alleged numerous times that Bob Moore serves certain special interests through his management of the El Paso Times masquerading as a newspaper. Therefore, when Bob Moore gets publicly involved on an issue it immediately raises red flags for me. As if that wasn’t enough, when Cortney Niland requests a special meeting of the city council to discuss the future of the city manager the red flag turns into extremely loud alert claxons demanding immediate attention.

There is no doubt that city council has bungled the appointment of Tommy Gonzalez as the city’s next city manager. Unfortunately as with anything city related it is just not one mistake or two, but rather a litany of incompetence of the process. From reaching a “consensus” during executive session to whether an interim city manager can be appointed the process has been mucked up from start to finish. It is something many of us have come to expect from a city where rules can be twisted as the needs dictate.

What has caught my attention is the two-pronged attack against the appointment of Tommy Gonzalez. From the surface, it may seem like Bob Moore is just posturing for future newspaper awards around the notion that he is an advocate of government transparency. It may also be that Cortney Niland is simply covering her ass in case the FBI decides to take another look at city council.

However that would ignore the simple fact that the record clearly shows that both Moore and Niland have a history of selective indignation when it comes to city council operations.

Cortney Niland has been pandering for news media attention ever since her cohort Steve Ortega was summarily dismissed from the public’s trough. Anyone paying attention to Ortega’s last few council meetings could clearly see the look of realization pasted on Cortney Niland’s face that her gravy train was derailing faster than she could put her shoes on.

Likewise, Bob Moore has an ample history of selectively choosing when public scrutiny of government is appropriate, in his eyes, and when the public should know its place by what Moore chooses to allow his publication to editorialize on and what his reporters can report on. It doesn’t even surprise me that the local publication masquerading as a paper would editorialize on the city’s process of appointing Gonzalez because I have documented how Moore justifies his journalistic malfeasance by pointing to pieces he allows to be published knowing full well that there is a plan in place to fix the problem.

The city has a history of taking votes to “fix” the underlining problem of the controversy. In the case of the appointment of Tommy Gonzalez the argument has been made by the city that a “vote” was not taken but rather that a “consensus” was reached to allow the consultant to begin negotiations. Reasonable individuals know that this is just word acrobatics to correct a mistake.

And it works when the players allow it to work. However, both Moore and Niland aren’t playing so it forces me to ask why?

Is it because Tommy Gonzalez was not the agreed upon appointment. Is it because Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria was the anointed one, as many had speculated and somehow she didn’t make the cut? Is it an attempt to create the impression that the city tried to get the better candidate and had to settle for the second best clearing the way for Arrieta-Candelaria?

The thinking may have been that Gonzalez would never accept a cut in pay from his previous gig at city manager and therefore he would turn the job down, opening the door for Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria. However, it seems that he is willing to take a pay cut to come work in El Paso, effectively shutting the door on Arrieta-Candelaria.

Had this being the plan, any criticism about appointing Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria would have been countered with the argument that the city was unable to meet the payment requirements of the out of town candidate and we went with the second choice.

If my theory is correct then consider the following. The city and Oscar Leeser has been telling the public that the city would act transparently when making the city’s next city manager appointment. The Leeser administration kept the public informed every step of the way and even included members of the community and businesses to help make the selection. Everything was following an orderly process.

Then all of a sudden, chaos broke out. First, the city bungled the announcement that Tommy Gonzalez was the preferred choice. Had that been the only problem it could easily be chalked up to just another city stupidity. However, consider the next thing the city messed up in the process.

The plan, as outlined numerous times by the city and Oscar Leeser was that Joyce Wilson was going to stay on as long as necessary during the process to allow for a smooth transition. Keep in mind everyone knows that budget hearings are coming up. Everyone knew the hiring timeline for the new city manager.

Yet, as soon as Tommy Gonzalez’ name surfaced an urgency in transitioning Joyce Wilson suddenly sprung up. There was never any discussion about the need for an interim city manager during the lengthy process. Although the consultants hired to manage the hiring of the city’s next city manager have been “blamed” for suggesting the need of an interim city manager the fact remains that the city never mentioned needing an interim city manager.

Therefore, either the consultants failed to properly do their job by discussing the need with the city council, or they are just a convenient scapegoat to cover up the truth.

The question that everyone should be asking is why is transitioning Joyce Wilson all of a sudden such an urgent matter. If we consider that Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria was the anointed next city manager then the questions are answered.

If Gonzalez accepted a job no one expected him to then it would make sense that Wilson would need to be transitioned out immediately. If Arrieta-Candelaria was the presumptive appointee, she is now facing a precarious job situation in that she now has to answer to someone she, and her cohorts have no control over. Likewise, it would make sense that Joyce Wilson would want out sooner than later. More importantly, the haste that has led to the chaos further explains how an alleged plan suddenly came to a screeching halt.

Now consider the following, many of the individuals that would want to control who the next city manager is would not give up so easily. Creating a scapegoat, the city attorney and invalidating the appointment of Tommy Gonzalez as the next city manager would quickly restore order to the original plan.

By arguing, that the process of reaching a “consensus” for Tommy Gonzalez is tainted with questions about the legality of the process it would make it difficult, if not impossible for Gonzalez to accept the job. If that were the case, then Gonzalez would be out clearing the way for Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria to become the next city manager.

Notice how Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria has been groomed for this position and how no one is talking about her now? Is it because in order to let her take the reins she needs to be kept as far away from the controversy as possible? Keeping her hands clean of the whole fiasco?

But for the plan to work the community needs to be aware of the reason why Tommy Gonzalez is not the next city manager. That is where the Bob Moore and Cortney Niland team come into play. Moore gets to use his bully pulpit to “inform” the community while Niland gets to posture for her next run for office. The gravy is that regardless of how it ends both Moore and Niland have nothing to lose by being the patsies in this latest ploy to keep control of the city, and everything to gain. More importantly the louder the controversy the more difficult it becomes to proceed with the appointment of Gonzalez, leaving the spot open for Carmen Arrieta-Candaleria.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

3 replies on “Tommy Gonzalez, Bob Moore and Cortney Niland”

  1. Martin, you’re being disingenuous. Try Occam’s Razor that the simplest solution to a complex problem is the most likely correct one: they fucked up! Now they’re all backtracking, trying to not look like the buffoons they are, especially Firth.

    As for Niland, don’t worry. Her district hates her and she knows it and will probably not stand for the humiliation of an Ortega-style defeat at the polls.

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