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January 25, 2017


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It was obvious Tolbert had help from a lawyer to file his complaint. It was so full of legalese that you knew it wasn't his words. I agree that there are two systems of justice in government as evidenced by the recent drama over Clinton's emails etc. It is happening in your local government too.

Unfortunately the way this Ethics Commission is organized through the ordinance means it will never be able to hear any case against a public official without being accused of favoritism or challenged by others that they cannot legally sit in judgement of a council person that appointed them.

The Ethics Commission should be appointed by a third party like the DA, or the Texas Ethics Commission. But that will never happen. The city council would be giving up power.

If a lawyer helped Tolbert (which I have no doubt he got help -- God knows he needs it) then that lawyer should have known that the complaint against the CM was incorrect. However, the real question here is the unethical behavior of the four members of Council and the City Attorney. I am hoping (against all good sense) that the Rangers get after this. Perhaps they did not pursue the ethics claims that Tolbert filed because they were specious.

I just asked Sylvia Firth if the Ethics Ordinance applies to Tommy. Here's her emailed answer: "Mr. Gonzalez's Employment Contract expressly requires compliance with the COEP Ethics Ordinance."
I've followed up with a question about whether the code applies to other executives and rank and file city workers and, if so, whether a complaint would be handled by the ethics review commission or internally. Hmm, so TG's the only employee it applies to? That seems strange; I thought it was much broader. Will letcha know what I learn. Had me going there for a minute tho

David Crowder,

The old form states at the top you can't file an ethics complaint against a city employee. Don't know what more to tell you... Other "ethical" discretions of employees have been handled in the HR realm - including assistants to council members who broke into an office, hacked into an email account and used the information to further their boss' political aspirations. When asked if an ethics complaint should be filed on said employee the city attorneys office emphatically said employees don't answer to the ethics commission.

NO CITY IN AMERICA make their employees answer to politically appointed ethics commissions. It's idiotic anyone thinks that would be legal by any stretch of the law.

But again, I can't tell you folks in El Paso anything. You'll keep doing things backwards and claiming it's right.

Do notice that the ultimate "ethics investigation" into the city manager yielded nothing in punishment and only suggestions - non-binding suggestions he was not forced to comply with or face termination. Why? Because the ethics commission can not terminate an employee. Give my mother a call, she was on civil service for a long time, she knows exactly how all level employees are to be examined.

If we had only known that you can file a complaint against a city employee - WOW - the city would be covered up with complaints over how badly they were treated by a city employee - be it a bus driver, inspector, planner, plan checker, sanitation worker, permit person......but no, it's only applied to the CM. Strange, real strange. The CM is in fact an employee.

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