Rent a manager

How low we have sunk?

City council recently required the city manager to tell us who the acting city manager(s) will be while he is out of town on vacation.

They further required that the designated people not be implicated in the current mess we are watching unfold.

The result is that one of the designees is not even a city employee.  Somehow I doubt that this contractor can legally do the job.

Also of interest is that the number two person in the city’s management structure (the chief performance officer) was not named as the acting city manager.  Was she involved in the failed attempt to get rid of our financial advisor firm?  Or would becoming the acting city manager interfere with her other interests outside of the city?

Either our bench is so shallow that we have to resort to a city vendor, or a bunch of the senior city staff is involved in the current mess.

What is really remarkable is that we do not have a deputy or assistant city manager.  Our city charter requires that the city manager name an acting city manager whenever the city manager is absent or disabled.

Shouldn’t we have someone designated permanently so that if our city manager were to be in an unfortunate accident we would have a city manager?

We deserve better


5 Responses to Rent a manager

  1. facebook follower says:

    This was posted on Facebook by a former EPCH board member (it’s very long)

    There is significant risk to your wonderful Children’s Hospital in the plans that the County and UMC are implementing, and the impact could be devastating. We are learning that they knew of this risk and withheld it from the Judge at the hearing for the approval of the plan. It is a material change from what Judge Mott approved. This is a serious concern and the fix is a simple fix.
    El Paso friends………. We have been spoon fed whatever Queen Escobar serves up to the media, complete with a very delusional spin. Unlike the Bible, it may not be worthwhile for you to read all of the documents for yourselves
    ( ) but if you did you would be surprised at what was deliberately NOT reported, as well as the deliberate twists on what WAS reported.
    The most important thing you should know is that your children’s hospital remains one of the greatest assets in our community. El Paso has over 40 pediatric subspecialists who are here only because of the hospital. In its short life EPCH has achieved an impressive collection of prestigious certifications and accreditations that place it among the most elite hospitals in the nation.
    It’s important to note that, other than the original bond that the taxpayers approved to gift the hospital to our community, EPCH HAS NOT COST THE TAXPAYERS A CENT. EPCH has paid to UMC nearly three times what it cost UMC to support the hospital. I wish I could say that the profit has been returned to us as taxpayers, but I would venture to guess that it went into the UMC clinics (which were not sent to voters for approval, even though they cost more than the children’s hospital).
    If you read the sworn testimony in the legal proceedings, you will find that it costs UMC less than $5 million per year for the support it provides to EPCH. Given that EPCH has been open less than 4 years, that means it has cost UMC less than $20 million for its support of EPCH. Since filing for bankruptcy in May, EPCH has paid to UMC an astonishing $9.8 million. In the three years prior to filing, it paid UMC $43.5 million, including repaying $8 million in startup costs. Do the math – that is $55 million received by UMC and less than $20 million spent.
    It doesn’t stop there. In addition, UMC collected somewhere between $4 million and $7 million per year in property taxes for indigent pediatric care that was provided by EPCH. That’s another $16 to $28 Million in profits for UMC. Friends, this profit was realized at the expense of our precious children!
    But wait! There’s more! El Paso First Health Plans (wholly owned subsidiary of UMC) recently admitted that it had underpayed to EPCH $3 to $4 Million per year (something EPCH leadership has been trying to correct from inception), and adjusted the payments in April 2015 without making the adjustments retroactive.
    Queen Escobar keeps talking about getting costs under control by using shared services. The shared services have been in place since inception. What will get the costs under control is for UMC to charge what it actually costs them to deliver the services and not profit from EPCH. EPCH should outsource services that are too expensive or otherwise don’t make sense to acquire from UMC. (For example, EPCH found that it could outsource payroll and save $50K annually over what UMC charges “at cost”, and its request to save those funds through outsourcing was denied.)
    By paying actual UMC costs for services, outsourcing functions that are not cost effective or practical to acquire from UMC, receiving proper Medicaid reimbursements, receiving proper payments from El Paso First, and receiving credit for the tax revenue UMC receives for pediatric care….. EPCH should achieve respectable financial performance. If the community creates a foundation dedicated exclusively for EPCH (and names it appropriately) the possibilities are endless.
    There is some very legitimate concern over the new governance, and how it will affect EPCH going forward, now that EPCH is a subsidiary of UMC. UMC and the County negotiated far more control than advisable in order for EPCH to remain separately licensed, and both have already overstepped the amount of control they negotiated for themselves in their recent meddling. They have also appointed interlocking board members. This means that EPCH will lose its designation as a “Hospital within a Hospital” and become an acute care hospital no different than the one across town, or perhaps a department of UMC. This concern was brought up by EPCH leadership during negotiations, and was trivialized by UMC and the County.
    What are the potential ramifications of losing the “Hospital within a Hospital” status? Not only does EPCH no longer qualify for preferred Medicaid reimbursement rates, but the change in status will likely trigger the need for a new hospital provider number. This would mean that a new inspection will be needed, and no revenue can be collected (for potentially 3 to 6 months) until the inspection is passed. (Remember that UMC itself failed recent inspections). All of the accreditations and certifications achieved by EPCH and are tied to the provider number might no longer be valid, including the prestigious COG (Children’s Oncology Group) certification. The residency programs will have a significant impact because pediatric residents want to perform their residency at a children’s hospital, not a department of an adult hospital. Finally, the hospital could be out of compliance with the bond issuance. These are serious ramifications, all because the County and UMC want too much control over EPCH.
    This entire concern could be easily rectified by having the County and UMC maintain arms distance from EPCH, allowing EPCH to appoint its own board members, and certainly not have any interlocking board members. This would preserve the mission of the Children’s Hospital, allow it to maintain its designation as a Children’s Hospital, and allow it to continue to succeed and grow.
    The new leadership must not only continue and build upon the success realized thus far, but it must stand firm against UMC and the County. This could be politically difficult, given that those entities appointed them. The public should get more involved now that EPCH is a UMC subsidiary. EPCH should now be subject to open documents and open meetings. Attend the meetings, read the contracts, volunteer, provide input, and hold the leadership accountable for continued excellence. Ensure they don’t siphon funds and other benefits intended for EPCH toward other County or UMC initiatives.


  2. Reality Checker says:

    The chief performance officer doesn’t really live here. She still claims DFW as her residence. She’s probably home for the holidays (travelling on our dime per her contract) and can’t be bothered with this kind of stuff. That’s just as well because she and Gonzalez have a long history going back to Irving. She shouldn’t be anywhere near this investigation or the evidence related to it.

    Gonzalez intentionally gutted the org chart, eliminated management depth, and handpicked a friend as his number two person, which gave him greater control and increased the city’s dependency on him. He then boasted of saving the city money. City council loved it, enabled him, and rewarded him for it.

    The whole situation reminds me of carpetbaggers and scalawags.


  3. Gee, we would not be having this discussion (nor, I suspect, this controversy), if we had a strong Mayor form of City government, and maybe way fewer chiefs, and thus, more Indians.


  4. Homeowner777 says:

    Well, I hope it one of those gals with Extra Tall High Heals that go. . . . click click click click click as they walk down the halls.

    click click click click click click click click click click . . . . . .
    (she stopped momentarily. . .)
    then . . .
    click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click . . . SQUEAK ! ! !
    (That’s the restroom door opening . . . squeaking.)
    then . . click click click click click . . . . (door squeaks shut )

    Merry Christmas everyone !


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