On the night the Lubbock City Council was expected to name a new City Manager, the remaining finalists have been thrown out of the race, and the search will start from scratch once again.
Nine months, over 60 applicants, an $18,000 search committee, and the city council says - Start Over! And the question everyone's asking; Why? "Well, we have a unique situation here," said Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal. "We have an electric utility company. We have water issues. So, we're looking for someone that has experience in those areas. Certainly that's going to be difficult to find," he says.
At his home Thursday night, former Interim City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, who resigned after the council made their decision to start over, said he respected the council's action. During his tenure, Gonzalez acquired a reputation as a straight-shooter who was capable of making tough, and sometimes politically unpopular, moves.
"Over the last 9 months you've had to make some difficult decisions, including layoffs, perhaps being painted as the bad guy. Is this a slap in the face?," NewsChannel 11 asked Gonzalez. "Well, the decisions we made over the last 9 months we we're compelled to make. They were very necessary and we were in a position that we needed to act quickly, and we followed our policies but we had to review those policies in a very quick fashion. Did we have 9 months to review a process, to have a consulting firm come in and tell us where we needed to cut? We did not do that. Did we follow our policies in looking at what areas we needed to cut in? Yes we did. And because we did that and because those cuts were made, this city is better for it and we didn't have to raise taxes," he answered.
What's next? The mayor and two city councilmen will start taking resumes, again. Meanwhile Assistant City Manager Quincy White, has been bumped up to fill the shoes of Tommy Gonzalez.