"Let me say I certainly understand the feelings and share those feelings with those employees who have lost their jobs," said former Lubbock Interim City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.
Negotiations began just after lunch, with Gonzalez and the city council meeting for the last time, hammering out a mutually acceptable severance package, but not easily. After 7 hours of deliberations, the council announced they were done, only to leave the chambers and reconvene for another two hours.
Finally, at 9:25 p.m., Gonzalez emerged from the meeting flanked by his wife and parents, embraced by a phalanx of supporters. "My father taught me to do things and not say that you're going to do them. My mother taught me tenacity, and my wife makes sure I make the dollars to bring home to my family. That's why I have them here," he said.
The deal pockets Gonzalez just over $200,000. A combination of six months salary, vacation, sick leave, insurance, and back pay.
"Obviously we had a lot of discussion today," said Mayor Marc McDougal. He stressed the importance of closure and unity. "The council felt very strongly that we needed closure to this mater and we felt like we needed to be unanimous," he said.
Signing his severance papers, Gonzalez ended a relationship with the City of Lubbock that spanned over a decade. "At this time, Sandy and I and our boys are going to move on with our lives and we're going to look at other employment opportunities," he said.