There has been a time-honored principle that a public figure must not only behave correctly but give no basis for suspicion (as supposedly the second wife of Julius Caesar did, leading to divorce!). That clearly is so First Century BC here in El Paso.
Several letter writers have commented on the behavior of City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, who began his work in El Paso by bringing a former associate on board without any competitive hiring, to serve as “Chief Performance Officer” at over $200,000 with perks. This CPO had, and has, a consulting firm; apparently there is not enough performance in El Paso to supervise, leaving Ms. Bartlett with time on her hands. Her boss has now followed her by forming a consulting firm with his wife, and hiring a Mr. John Romero to set it up. This is allowed in his contract as long as it doesn’t present a “conflict of interest.” Who determines what is a conflict of interest is not specified.
The name Romero might sound familiar – and it is indeed, as Mr. Larry Romero, city council representative for District 2, led the effort to increase Mr. Gonzalez’s salary by $61,000. John is Larry’s brother; keeping it all in the family!
You may wonder if future clients of the new firm might find themselves on the inside track for city business, even if the city itself does not become a client. You would not be the only one to wonder. Appearances can be deceiving…but It certainly seems that we have a trout in the milk here.