Will History Repeat Itself At City Hall? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/16/03

Will History Repeat Itself At City Hall?

Does a current city employee have a better chance over two outsiders? NewsChannel 11 combed through city records to see if history could give us any insight.

Rickey Childers of Longview, William Pupo of Surprise, Arizona, and Tommy Gonzalez of Lubbock. That's the final three as we know it. There are two outsiders and one who's worked for Lubbock for 12 years, who also happens to be the interim city manager. Let's take a look at how previous city councils have hired in the past.

NewsChannel 11 found that the Lubbock City Council hires the city manager, city secretary and city attorney. The council also as the final say so on hiring the police and fire chief after careful selection by the city manager. History is about to reveal previous city councils favor candidates who've been around.

The council hired Larry Cunningham as city manager around 1976 to 77. He was an insider, meaning he was hired from a current Lubbock city employee position. Follwing Cunningham, Bob Cass. Council appointed Cass in 1993. Before that, Cass wore many Lubbock city titles dating back to 1976. Cass was a deputy city manager before taking the city manager position. Again, Cass was hired inside the city organization.

Here's another one, Becky Garza. She is Lubbock's city secretary. The council appointed her to that position after she proved herself as interim during 2000. Before her upper management position, she was an accountant for the city.  Once again, hired inside the organization. We're not through.

The council and city manager hired Police Chief Claude Jones and Fire Chief Steve Hailey.  Both have more than 20 years in those departments. Both served as interims. But look at this; before Chief Jones, former police chief Ken Walker was a hired from outside the city organization.

And finally, City Attorney Anita Burgess. She was an outside hire as well.

Five inside and two outside hires into high management positions. What will the council decide for city manager?

Based on what history has proven in the past, this council may appoint Gonzalez as city manager. So that leads to another question; how much has this search cost Lubbock tax payers?

We're told at least $18,000 for the search firm and that doesn't include airline, hotel, and food expenses. We asked Mayor Marc McDougal why spend the money. He said, "We owe it to the tax payers to conduct a search to find the best possible person for the job."

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