Lubbock Group Criticizes City Manager Search - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/5/04

Lubbock Group Criticizes City Manager Search

This phrase was used a lot to refer to the recent decision to drop two men from the city manager position; "a slap in the face."

You will remember a month ago, the Lubbock City Manager search was down to three finalists. William Pupo of Arizona, Tommy Gonzalez, Interim city manager of Lubbock, and Rickey Childers of Longview. "The Anglo decided to pull his name from he race, so we had two qualified candidates left. Why wasn't an appointment made?" A simple statement by Lubbock County Commissioner Gilbert Flores.

Flores is upset the city council voted to restart the process. So are other people. A group of League of Latin American Citizens are wondering if it was racially motivated. "It's a slap in the face. This not only hurts the Hispanic community, but the African-American community and a majority of the Anglo community," said Flores.

A long list of L.U.L.A.C. representatives, including Flores, are scheduled to speak to the council on Thursday. "My main objective is to let them know what they did to the image of West Texas," said Flores.

But Mayor Marc McDougal doesn't think that at all. "Race never entered this picture at any point," said the Mayor.

The Mayor says there just wasn't strong enough support for either candidate. "This is what happened the evening we (the city council) decided to start the process all over. Of the remaining candidates (Gonzalez and Childers) we could not get four members of the council to support them."

We may get further explanation on Thursday as to why the city manager search was scraped and started from scratch. In addition, we could hear specific reasons why city council could not agree on one of the two finalists.

Meanwhile, Fire Chief Steve Hailey, Police Chief Claude Jones, and City Attorney Anita Burgess have been named acting city managers.

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