City Hall

A Modest Proposal For Fixing A.C. Gonzalez's Already Terrible Briefings

A.C. Gonzalez took the time at the end of Wednesday's City Council briefing to at least wink in the direction transparency. He didn't jump into the open government pool by any means, but he took about 15 minutes at the end of the meeting to spew jargon in the general direction of the council.

He spoke of "management systems integration" and the "Baldrige Approach" while insisting that it's important to do things as quickly as possible, if we can," in an apparent nod to council member Scott Griggs' recent complaints about the city's "paralyzed" Trinity and transportation offices.

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Griggs issued a memo outlining those complaints Monday, partly because, he says, any questions council members wish Gonzalez to address during his updates must be submitted in advance, in writing.

Griggs followed the procedure, but, at least as far as specifics go, was largely ignored. Introducing Gonzalez's presentation, Mayor Mike Rawlings informed the council that they could "get with A.C." afterward to address anything that went beyond his presentation.

It was more of the same. The city manager will continue to operate with the least amount of transparency that the political climate in the city will allow, resulting in a frustrated council and uninformed residents.

Why not try something different? Gonzalez doesn't answer to voters, so how would it hurt him if actually took questions from the City Council and tried to answer them honestly? Think Prime Minister's Questions, with more twang and fewer chortling back benchers.

Imagine it. Some of the more analytically inclined members of the council roasting Gonzalez about the inertia and incompetence that they think grips his office. Gonzalez getting to fire back that they can't possibly understand how hard it is to run a city when you actually have to answer to someone. Hell, some Dallasites might even begin to wonder how this guy nobody votes for has so much power.

Unfair Park holds its breath.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young