Written by Phil Cerroni
Dear Irving Rambler:
I previously sent an email where I discussed my position that a bribe or a payoff to former Fire Chief Mario Molina occurred by City Manager Tomas Gonzalez, in the form of paying Mr. Molina $161,900 for one year based on an artificially created grant writing position that was created for Mr. Molina by Mr. Gonzalez.
Though Mr. Gonzalez claimed that Mr. Molina had been "successful at securing grants for the Fire Department during the past several years", the City of Irving (City) could not produce any records in response to my open records request to show where Mr. Molina had signed any grant application letters or any records that showed the total amount of grant funds that Mr. Molina was responsible for obtaining for the City.
The City even failed to respond to this category of information I requested: "Additionally, I request a copy of the necessary City records establishing that Mr. Molina was actually the person that did the work that resulted in the City obtaining grants and not just the department head that signed the paperwork for the grants that someone else with the City actually did the work on."
I have since learned that Mr. Gonzalez's actions actually violated the Home Rule Charter the City has, since it was clear that Mr. Gonzalez artificially created the high paying position for Mr. Molina in order to settle any claims that Mr. Molina had against the City for placing him on administrative suspension and to get Mr. Molina to step down from his position as Fire Chief.
Section 25, Compromising and settling claims and lawsuit; from Article III, Corporate Power; from the Home Rule Charter, which the City has; states the following: "The city council of the City of Irving shall have the power and authority to compromise and settle any and all claims and lawsuits of every kind and character in favor of or against the said city, including suits by said city to recover delinquent taxes."
Even the Separation Agreement was a matter that should have been brought before the City Council, just as how Mr. Molina was given an artificially created position by Mr. Gonzalez in order to settle any claims that Mr. Molina may have had against the City in exchange for the administrative suspension and his being forced to step down as the Fire Chief.
It also appears that Mr. Gonzalez violated the City's Home Rule Charter since Section 3, Powers and duties; in Article VIII, City Manager; states: "The city manager shall also be the Chief Executive and shall see that the laws and ordinances of the city are enforced. He shall appoint all appointive officers, or employees of the city (such appointments to be made upon merit and fitness alone)..."
There is no evidence that Mr. Molina previously displayed fitness as a grant writer nor was there any merit that he was ever a qualified grant writer but rather he was hired to be a grant writer as some settlement that resulted in Mr. Gonzalez artificially creating a grant writing position for Mr. Molina. So, can the City be sued because it appears it has violated at least two parts of the Home Rule Charter? Where has City Attorney Charles Anderson and his staff of nine attorney been during all this, looking the other way as has often been the case in recent years?
S. Paul Jordan