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Home | Tag Archives: city manager tommy gonzalez

Tag Archives: city manager tommy gonzalez

City Manager, Chief Resilience Officer Headed to Rockefeller Foundation Event in Italy

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and Chief Resilience Officer Nicole Ferrini have accepted a fully funded invitation by the Rockefeller Foundation to attend the CityXChange Summit at the Bellagio Center in Italy, which started Sunday, May 20 and continues through May 23.

“El Paso is proud to participate in this informative conference,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “The Summit provides a framework through which cities, startups, and venture capitalists can challenge each other to develop new models to work together and solve problems that will enhance public services and quality of life in urban centers.”

The CityXChange Summit launched last year to bring together leaders from around the globe with technology innovators to collaborate on solving urban resilience problems. The Conference will generate new approaches for solving urban resilience issues and lead to better tech-city collaboration for the future.

The Summit allows participating cities to present a particular challenge they would like the tech sector and urban resilience experts to help advance. The cities will work side-by-side with a cross-sector group of innovators and experts to explore potential solutions and opportunities for collaboration and partnership.

“The conference allows us to open a dialogue on innovative thinking to solve problems so we can better the lives of El Paso residents and businesses,” said Chief Resilience Officer Nicole Ferrini. “We are bringing home real solutions and tangible resources for El Paso.”

All cities in attendance are members of 100 Resilient Cities, an organization pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation dedicated to helping cities build resilience to the social, economic and physical challenges of the 21st century.

City Appoints New Leadership for the Department of Animal Services

El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez announced the appointment of a new taskforce that will focus on the continued implementation of the shelter reform plan and the operational functions of the Department of Animal Services.

The taskforce comprised of five City staffers will be led by Paula Powell.

Powell has numerous years of operations experience and has been the catalyst for various Parks and Recreation Department improvements. Powell has been with the City of El Paso for more than 23 years and has been recognized for her leadership and management skills throughout the years.

Powell began her college career at the United States Military Academy and culminated her studies by earning a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.

“Ms. Powell has been an asset to our organization for many years,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “She is a natural leader and brings a strong operational background that will help push the department toward “no-kill” status.”

The members of the taskforce include:

  • Paula Powell, Assistant Director for Parks and Recreation
  • Dr. Alana Canupp, Chief Veterinarian for Animal Services
  • Hugo Navarro, Operations Supervisor for Animal Services
  • Nicole Cote, Fiscal Operations Administrator for the El Paso Fire Department
  • Ramon Herrera, Lead Public Affairs Coordinator for Animal Services

Via a news release the city thanked Kurt Fenstermacher for his assistance with the initial implementation of the reform plan. His tenure as interim is greatly appreciated.

Fenstermacher will be returning to the Environmental Services Department, while Powell and the new taskforce started July 21.

City Manager Names Economic Development Director

On Monday, El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez announced the appointment of Jessica Herrera as the City’s Director of the Economic and International Development Department.

“Ms. Herrera has done an excellent job in managing the duties and priorities of the department. She has accomplished a great deal, not only in terms of economic development, but in marketing our local business and community. She’s a great addition to the Management Team,” said El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.

Herrera currently serves as the interim Director of Economic and International Development Department where she works to build and strengthen public-private partnerships to rebuild key assets of the city and help create an environment that supports a vibrant regional economy. Herrera and her team are instrumental in developing relationships with various local and Juarez businesses, as well as other cities in Northern Mexico.

In her permanent role, she will continue to lead the department, which works with dozens corporations and developers on expansions, improvements, relocations and job growth.

Herrera has more than ten years of economic development experience, including expertise on business recruitment, retention and expansion efforts, small business development, real estate and retail recruitment strategies, and successful marketing and communication initiatives.

Herrera holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on International Business from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Herrera will begin her new role with the City of El Paso effective immediately.

City Manager Gonzalez Appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of Quality Texas Foundation

Mayor Dee Margo announced Thursday that the Quality Texas Foundation Board of Directors has elected City Manager Tommy Gonzalez as Chair of the Board of Directors for 2017 – 2019.

“Mr. Gonzalez is highly respected across the State of Texas for his deliverance of quality and excellence,” said Dr. Mac McGuire, Chief Executive Officer of the Quality Texas Foundation. “In the 22 years I have been involved with the Quality of Texas Foundation, Mr. Gonzalez is the first City Manager to be elected as Chair of the Board of Directors. Previous chairs have all been from for-profit companies. The appointment of City Manager to the board is an attribute to the quality of the City of El Paso.”

“We are proud of Mr. Gonzalez and I know he will represent the City well. The Quality Texas Foundation is a highly respected and renowned organization that El Paso is honored to be associated with,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.

The Quality Texas Foundation Board of Directors consists of 22 members from various organizations across the State of Texas, including CEOs from non-profits, for-profits, hospitals, and manufacturing companies.

The Quality Texas Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation that evolved from a concept to organize and deliver quality awareness seminars across the state.

Gonzalez’s election took place at the Quality Texas Foundation Board of Directors 24th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference in late June.

Local Developers Plan Long-Awaited Rebirth of Hotel Paso del Norte in Downtown

The Hotel Paso del Norte, one of the most important historic buildings in the Southwest, will be renovated and restored as part of a plan announced Tuesday by local developers, Meyers Group and Two Sabes LLC.

The hotel has been operated as the Camino Real Hotel by Grupo Empresarial Angeles of Mexico City. The hotel is located at 101 South El Paso Street in Downtown El Paso.

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting,  Council approved a term sheet that will allow City staff to move forward with the incentive process for a private redevelopment project that will revitalize the historical downtown Camino Real Hotel into a convention hotel.

“Since opening in 1912, the Hotel Paso del Norte has served as an iconic landmark welcoming visitors to Downtown El Paso,” said Josh Meyers, Vice President of the Meyers Group. “We are humbled to help this city reclaim its place as the premier city in the American Southwest by breathing new life into this architectural treasure.”

The term sheet not only allows staff to develop a 380 agreement with the private investor, Meyers Group Acquisitions, but it allows the investor to begin work on this redevelopment project.

“This revitalization project has been a long time coming,” El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said.  “I’m proud to say that this is not only a City initiative, but an initiative that includes our partners at the County and State level. This project is going to be key to our redevelopment efforts of downtown and is definitely a catalyst for our continued economic growth here in the El Paso region.”

paso del norteThe redevelopment will be lead by the Meyers Group and Two Sabes LLC. Meyers Group is also developing Shadow Mountain Tower in West El Paso. Two Sabes is lead by Richard Aguilar of EPT Land Communities, which is developing Montecillo in West El Paso.

“While this project signifies the importance of El Paso’s rich history, it also signifies the optimism we all feel about El Paso’s future,” Meyers said. “Significant Downtown investments — both public and private — have created an environment in which projects like this one make good business sense for investors and developers.”

The hotel, which sits in the heart of downtown, is expected to see a $70 million renovation and transformation into a much garnered convention hotel. The City of El Paso, the County of El Paso, and the State of Texas are anticipated to assist in this redevelopment project by providing incentives totaling $34 million in State and local taxes.

“A lot of hard work with a strong team has taken place to make this project a reality,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “This project includes a return on investment clause that pays the City a percentage of the net profits in perpetuity. When completed, the convention hotel will bring even greater opportunities to our already thriving downtown.”

The Hotel Paso del Norte was designed by architect Henry C. Trost and built by Zachary T. White. When it opened in 1912, constructionlobby cost about $1 million.

The hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and features a 25-foot- diameter stained glass dome reputedly created by famed American artist Louis C. Tiffany.

Guests reported to have stayed at the hotel include U.S. Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, Mexican Gen. Álvaro Obregón Salido, famed aviator Amelia Earhart, and then-Vice President Richard Nixon.

A final incentive agreement is expected to be brought back to the El Paso City Council in September for approval.

Mayor, Council and City Manager move Forward; Introduce ‘Statement of Goals & Expectations

After a lengthy meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Oscar Leeser, City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and the entire City Council took the first step in moving forward after months of consternation.

The City Team went into Executive Session for almost 5 hours and the outcome was a “Statement of Goals and Expectations.”

Mayor Leeser had very positive comments to share about the discussion. “Our City Team is working hard to get past the last few months and get back on track and focus on the areas that help our great city prosper like economic development, public safety, quality of life and our financial stability.”

The City Council expressed their appreciation for the work completed and the results achieved together.  This meeting was more about collaboration and ensuring Council feedback was integrated into next year’s work efforts.

City Manager, Tommy Gonzalez said, “I have a deep sense of pride in our staff and what we along with Council have been able to achieve. I know there is much more to do but despite the distractions we have continued to persevere and achieve Council objectives.” City Manager shared a three page report listing the “Council’s Accomplishments and Focus Areas.”

The Mayor stressed the importance of Mayor, Council and City Manager all working together and said the “Statement of Goals and Expectations” will help that process.

The areas included in the personnel document are the following:

  1. Relationship with Council that included items on continuing to update council on special projects and ensuring that staff follows through on issues and maintains mutual respect throughout the organization.
  1. Organizational Management area focused on restructuring, succession planning, and organizational needs.
  1. Communications and Relations looked at the communications needs of council and allocating necessary resources for specific areas.
  1. Align Staff Reporting with Council Goals – this included implementing capital project tracking software and financial information.
  1. Ethics Ordinance focused on demonstrating accountability and ensuring ethical and honest behavior among the organization.
  1. Human Resources looked at developing a compensation Plan and re-implementing performance reviews for employees at all levels of the organization.
  1. Public Relations and Media focused on maintaining a positive relationship with the community and re-emphasized the importance media in assisting with public awareness on City issues.
  1. External Relations included the importance of representing the City at all levels and maintaining a good working relationship with local regional, state and federal agencies.
  1. Financial Management stressed the need to expedite the reconciliation of financial accounts and developing a multi-year planning system.  Council recognized this has been a long standing matter but wants to make it a priority in the coming year.
  1. Personal Attributes looked at initiating creative solutions to issues, listening to ideas and continuing to build employee morale.

 

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