Mayor, City Council want Tommy Gonzalez as next city manager; negotiations to start

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser announced Tommy Gonzalez as the City's choice for the next city manager but it's far from a done deal.

Leeser said Affion Public, the firm assisting the City in the city manager search, has been authorized to enter into negotiations with Gonzalez. Gonzalez is the former city manager of Irving, Texas.

City Council members Ann Morgan Lilly, Lily Limon, Cortney Niland, Eddie Holguin, and Carl Robinson were present at the news conference,. Former Mayor Joe Wardy, a member of the citizens advisory committee that interviewed the finalists, was also at the news conference with other members of the committee.

Firth stressed that City Council did not vote in executive session to hire Gonzalez and Leeser said the decision to enter into negotiations with Gonzalez came after deliberations in executive session.

City Council still has to officially vote for the person they want as city manager in open session.

The City hopes to name Gonzalez city manager on May 20, pending successful negotiations.

Leeser said during a news conference Monday afternoon that they don't want Gonzalez's pay to exceed City Manager Joyce Wilson's salary. Wilson's pay is just under $240,000.

Gonzalez had been criticized in the Dallas area for his annual $450,000 salary and "gruff" personal style.

He also has been accused of using his influence as city manager for benefits - like Rangers tickets - from companies that had business with the city.

Last May Gonzalez was offered the job of Pasco County, FL county manager - then declined it.

Other finalists for the city manager job included Fernando Costa, the Assistant City Manager in Fort Worth; El Pasoans Carmen-Arrieta Candelaria, the City's Chief Financial Officer and David Almonte, a current Deputy City Manager.

Wilson, the City's only city manager in its history, is set to leave when her contract ends at the end of September. She has been city manager since 2004.

Read story about the candidates meeting with city council and others last week at

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