Greenfield Set To Re-hire Planner
Gonzalez says racism is the real issue.
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Greenfield Mayor Mike Romo says Zak Gonzalez hasn''t made any progress on developing a 20-year growth plan for the South County city. But it doesn''t look like that will stop the Greenfield City Council from voting to renew Gonzalez''s contract at its next meeting on June 18.
On June 6, the council voted 2-1-with one abstention and one absence-not to extend Gonzalez'' contract for another year.
"He has not performed according to his contract," says Councilmember Art Salvagno, one of the two who voted not to renew Gonzalez''s contract. Mayor Mike Romo voted with Salvagno.
Gonzalez''s contract expired last month.
In most recent votes, Romo and Salvagno have been outnumbered by the city''s three other councilmembers-John Huerta, Jr., Zeke Banales and Yolanda Teneyuque-who typically vote as a bloc. At the June 6 meeting, Huerta was absent. Banales voted against not renewing Gonzalez'' contract-in essence voting to keep Gonzalez on board for a second year-and Teneyuque abstained.
Following the 2-1 vote, however, Teneyuque asked that the council members revisit Gonzalez''s contract at their June 18 meeting. Huerta, Jr., will be at that meeting.
When asked if he anticipates Gonzalez contract being renewed next week by a 3-2 vote, Salvagno said, "one might think so."
Mayor Romo said the item will be on the June 18 agenda. His vote won''t change.
"He hasn''t completed the phases [of the General Plan] he should have, and that''s why I voted the way I did," Romo says.
In a phone interview from his Fresno office, Gonzalez would not comment on his contract with the city or the councilmembers'' initial 2-1 vote not to renew his contract.
"I''m not saying nothing about the [councilmembers] decisions, or what they did, why they did," he said. "We''ll see at the next council meeting what happens. I don''t know what they are going to do or not do."
The council''s decision comes after the Weekly published a story ("The Incredible Expanding City, 5/30/02) detailing Gonzalez''s big contract and even bigger map calling for explosive growth that would nearly quintuple the tiny city.
In May 2001, Greenfield hired Gonzalez to update the city''s General Plan. According to his one-year contract, he''d receive $150,000 plus expenses for his work.
In an interview with the Weekly after the story ran, Gonzalez called his critics racists.
"This is all about the color of my skin," he said. "If my last name was Jones, none of this would be happening."