EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso City Council voted 7-1 on Tuesday to appoint Cary Westin as interim city manager.
City Rep. Henry Rivera, the District 7 representative, cast the only “no” vote.
Rivera brought up concerns over how the item was placed on the agenda by Mayor Oscar Leeser, saying the council wasn’t included in any advance discussions.
“We weren’t included in any discussion whatsoever. This is a very important item, and I’ve got nothing but praise for Mr. Westin, but it’s the process that was carried out that makes it look shady,” said Rivera during Tuesday’s City Council Meeting.
Leeser explained what he did before placing the item on Tuesday’s agenda.
“I did work with the city attorney. We met three times, met with Col. Westin twice, and met the employment attorney that was hired by the city,” Leeser said.
The council voted to appoint Westin as the interim city manager and to have him start on June 30 after outgoing City Manager Tommy Gonzalez finishes his 120-day notice period after his contract was terminated on Feb. 28.
However, City Rep. Alexsandra Annello suggested Westin should start sooner.
Leeser countered by bringing up current city manager Gonzalez’s contract when asked about Annello’s comments.
“His contract does say that Mr. Gonzalez will be here for a transitional period of 120 days and I look forward to respecting Mr. Gonzalez in the process,” Leeser said.
Westin told KTSM 9 News that his focus is on working with Gonzalez during the transition.
“A very big task, a task of continuity making sure that there is an effective transition over the next 120 days and working very closely with him and then bridging that and making sure there is a seamless continuity between the time that Mr. Gonzalez leaves and the City Council makes a decision in terms of the process and how they hire a new city manager,” Westin said.
Westin currently works for the city on a part-time basis as a senior operations officer, was a former deputy city manager and is a retired Army colonel.
Westin joined the City of El Paso in January 2014.