I'm as exhausted by the city manager saga as you guys are. I think they ought to give him a $1 million cash and let him go. You'd save on attorney's fees and whatever a jury decides to hand the guy (more on this in a minute).
However, there are things that need to be said.
First, the dumbest thing you can do is accuse someone of breaking all the rules for personal gain and then break the rules yourself in order to prove your original point.
The latest questionable move by the anti-city manager camp is a doozy - if it's true. I heard that Rep. Emma Acosta sent around a memo to council members saying that the chair of the ethics committee asked her to refrain from appointing anyone to the ethics commission. Why? Why would the chair ask a member with an open seat not to fill it as required by ordinance?
The rumor is that the chair of the ethics commission claimed he didn't want to have to catch up a new member on the city manager issue. Another contradicting report said that the chair liked the way the current commission was working together (read: I have the votes to do what I want and nobody gives a shit about the evidence). Either way - if it's true - it's front page news that shows there's a conspiracy to get rid of the city manager on a handful of false accusations.
I also heard that Acosta asks in the letter why a NEW report from Ross Fischer was leaked to the El Paso Times before council was even made aware that he'd done yet another report... this time with the exact opposite findings as the original report. Again, this is front page news when the chair of the ethics commission is conditioning public opinion on the city manager's ethics case in order to cover for the upcoming "findings" that were found long before the commission reviewed any evidence.
Remember, the chair of the ethics commission is a great guy who helps a lot of candidates - especially those connected to the Shapleigh Campers. And it's no secret that the Shapleigh Campers own the county manager and have someone in mind for the city manager so that the city can be run by the wishes of the county commissioners court where Shapleigh enjoys a majority. They hate Leeser and want to pull the rug out from under him and having the city manager work for the county makes that a lot easier.
If you're keeping score here and want to figure out just how much money YOU are going to pay the city manager to leave, I'll help you out.
The city manager has not only been found to have not broken a single rule, much less the law, no less than three times. At this point it's four if you count the public integrity unit taking a moment to laugh and pass on the accusations.
The city attorney has repeatedly stood down while council improperly tried review the city manager leading to him being slandered in public by several public officials. (He can sue them both privately and as a public official.)
The city attorney hired a lawyer to find that the city manager had broken the law. The lawyer puts out report saying that no law had been broken and neither had any rules.
The city attorney lets the city ethics commission have jurisdiction over a complaint against the city manager when it clearly states at the top of the complaint form that city employees are dealt with by HR. None of what the city ethics commission finds here on the city manager is actionable by city rules! By they let this go on anyhow.
The lawyer hired by the city attorney to find the city manager guilty of a laundry list of items is given to the ethic commission as a special investigator. This benefit has never been offered to any other ethics complaint. The lawyer hired to find dirt on the city manager drafts a completely contradictory statement on the city manager's actions solely so that the ethics commission can punish the city manager - who they have no jurisdiction over. The special investigator's report, being 180 degrees in its findings from his first official report, is useless because he makes a bad witness for himself. He has sworn that nothing happened and also sworn that something has happened - he's lying in one case here. Which one is it?
The chair of the ethics commission receives a copy of the contradictory report before council members do and then leaks it to the local press in order to tarnish the city manager's image ahead of their meeting to decide his fate. This would be like a judge in a murder trial leaking suspect evidence for the prosecution so that members of the jury and public are conditioned to like an improper verdict.
The chair of the ethic commission allegedly tells members of council not to do their duty when it comes to placing members of the public on the ethics commission. This is done because the verdict is a foregone conclusion with current members. Adding new members may interrupt their pre-planned assault on the city manager's integrity.
The local newspaper prints defamatory opinion and news pieces in conjunction with members of the city council, city staff and city ethics commission in order to change public opinion on the city manager.
Did I miss anything? I probably did. All told - we're looking at $2 million minimum owed to the city manager.
Now, close your eyes and imagine this. A jury trial in El Paso where the plaintiff is a handsome Latino man. The defendants are the City of El Paso, El Paso Times and more specifically the white people who set out to ruin this Latino man. Can you just see it now? Can you see that this is El Paso where you have 100 percent Latino jury watching white members of council and white coconspirators trying to defend their lies? For God's sake they hired a white guy from Austin on the taxpayers dime to make him look guilty of things he didn't even do! And why did they hire that white guy from Austin? Because an old white guy filed a complaint against him and it wasn't even filed with the right department, but they didn't care - white people don't need to follow the rules. If a white guy wants a brown guy gone - the whole El Paso government and local news outlets will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Sure, there are a few Latinos involved here, but the plaintiff need not even mention them - just keep the white people in the spot light and start counting your money.
Some people get so driven to get their way, they lose sight of what could really hurt them. At some point the geniuses on the anti-city manager team should have woken up and said "our target is brown and we have way too many white people throwing grenades at him - let's figure out how to change the image here should this go to trial."
And if I'm a member of city council right now - I'm hiding assets and lawyering up. The city will only pay for your leagl fees related to being sued as a council member. When you get sued for defamation personally - that's on your dime.