Tommy Gonzalez was appointed City Manager of El Paso, Texas, in June 2014. As City Manager, Mr. Gonzalez leads the 21st largest city in the United States. Mr. Gonzalez is a results-oriented, strategic leader with approximately three decades of management experience in the public sector; and some experience in the private sector. Currently, he oversees a budget of approximately $1 billion in operations and $1 billion in capital expenditures; while leading close to 7,000 employees.
In February 2023, Mr. Gonzalez was designated as a Fellow for the Quality Texas Foundation Regional Program (QTFRP). This highly selective honor is awarded by peers in leadership across both public and private sector organizations, recognizing Gonzalez’s years of service and leadership in his professional work of leading organizations to performance excellence awards at the state and national level, culminating in leading an organization to securing the Presidential Award in the Malcolm Baldrige Award. Mr. Gonzalez is now one of only 27 individuals who have been selected for this honor, over the past 30 years.
In 2022, Mr. Gonzalez earned the National Malcolm Baldrige Foundation E. David Spong Lifetime Leadership Achievement Award. The E. David Spong Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor the Baldrige Foundation bestows on an individual to recognize truly extraordinary service that has changed the world and has inspired others to do the same.
In 2019 and again in 2020, Mr. Gonzalez led his team in making national history, as the City of El Paso became the largest municipality to earn the Texas Award for Performance Excellence from the Quality Texas Foundation for two consecutive years. The City also won the All-America City (AAC) Award in 2018 and 2020, and 2021; and was named an AAC finalist five years in a row. Under Mr. Gonzalez’s leadership, the City of El Paso achieved $267 million in cost savings. He has revamped the City’s budgeting process by reducing cycle time. He did this by having year-round discussions on the budget during each council meeting, better informing the public and the city council on important budget matters in real-time.
Mr. Gonzalez has strengthened El Paso’s financial position by eliminating a multi-million-dollar deficit, tripling the fund balance by increasing it by $118 million—going from 9 days of fund balance to 91 days; and assembling a team to achieve zero audit findings for seven consecutive years. In 2014, Mr. Gonzalez inherited 21 external audit findings and zero findings for seven years speaks to strong programs that trained and developed staff to achieve excellence in financial performance excellence.
Aside from this financial turnaround, under Mr. Gonzalez’s tenure, the City now provides year-end reporting to the City Council and has had seven consecutive years of General Fund surplus: all leading to maintaining the city’s double AA financial rating.
In addition to his strong financial stewardship, Mr. Gonzalez has extensive experience in quality and performance excellence initiatives. He serves as an expert resource on transformational change within organizations. Mr. Gonzalez received another national recognition when the 2019 Baldrige Foundation Leadership Excellence Award in the Government sector was awarded by the Malcolm Baldrige Foundation in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes role-model leaders in their field. Mr. Gonzalez also received the 2019 United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Border City Leadership Award. He received this recognition for his leadership and commitment to growing the dynamic economic development that El Paso has experienced in recent years, which has improved job growth and wage increases while maintaining healthy public finances and ongoing partnerships with Mexican public and private sector entities, making the El Paso-Juarez region a top trade location in North America.
Mr. Gonzalez is also working with community partners by sharing best practices, the Baldrige-based framework, and public engagement strategies with local school districts, the county hospital, a private hospital, county administration, the housing authority, and other nonprofit groups through the Communities of Excellence framework. The Communities of Excellence program is designed to serve multiple organizations by improving El Paso’s quality of life, healthcare, and education. During the fiscal year 2019, approximately 400 students were trained on the City’s budget resulting in a final presentation by 10 students to the City Council on the City’s $1 billion budget. This program is again being launched across all school districts in El Paso.
In an unprecedented and history-making move, in June 2021, Mr. Gonzalez was asked to serve a third term as chair of the Quality Texas Foundation Board of Directors. In April 2019, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reappointed Mr. Gonzalez to the Risk Management Board for a term expiring in February 2023. He also serves as a member of the Governing Texas Advisory Board, U.S. Global Leadership Texas Advisory Board, Association of the United States Army, and the 2026 Communities of Excellence National Board.
Prior to working in El Paso, Mr. Gonzalez served as City Manager in the City of Irving, Texas. Under his leadership, the City of Irving earned the Texas Award for Performance Excellence from the Texas Quality Foundation. The City of Irving also won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award; the nation’s highest Presidential honor for performance excellence. Mr. Gonzalez retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving 22 years in the U.S. Army. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico. He received the Eastern New Mexico University's Outstanding Alumni Award and the Texas Tech Distinguished Alumni Award. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from the University of Texas in Austin.