The Jane Shang Affair

jane_shang_coverupThe Jane Shang affair is clear proof of the corruption permeating the ranks of the City of El Paso. Like any corrupt enterprise the city government relies on keeping secrets in order keep the corruption ongoing. Although there are many who read my blog that like to believe that corruption is nonexistent in El Paso city government the fact is that the evidence as I lay out here today about Jane Shang’s “golden parachute” should be sufficient for even them to pause a moment and ask themselves, is this really not corrupt?

Let us analyze the Jane Shang fiasco.

The facts that we know about Jane Shang’s paid administrative leave comes from a letter that was originally published in the Diario de El Paso on June 25, 2014. Let us look at what the facts are.

On June 1, 2014, Jane Shang was placed on paid administrative leave. Her annual salary is $174,598.70. Her paid administrative leave ends on December 31, 2014. On January 1, 2015, the city will place Shang on vacation leave through April 14, 2015. Her last day of employment with the city will be on April 14, 2015. Shang will continue to draw a paycheck and benefits from the city through April 14, 2015.

Jane Shang’s paycheck is funded by the taxpayers of the city.

These are the only facts we know because everything else is shrouded in bureaucratic secrecy impeding the community’s ability to ascertain the facts surrounding her leave.

Everything else is speculation, including what the bloggers and the news media are publishing.

There are two scenarios that have developed around this issue.

The first is that Jane Shang was put on paid administrative leave for political reasons, either to insulate her from a new administration or to keep her quiet about certain things she knows that could be detrimental to the city. The other scenario is that she was put on administrative leave was as a result of certain official actions she took as a city employee.

Let us discuss the latter option first. Placing Jane Shang on paid administrative leave for seven months and then converting her paid administrative leave to three and a half months of paid vacation cannot be described as a punitive action. In fact, it can only be described as an action highly beneficial to Jane Shang at the expense of the taxpayers of the city. Because of this, we can assume, at this point, that Jane Shang’s 10 and a half months of paid leave are the result of political necessity.

Unfortunately because of the secrecy surrounding her paid leave we can only speculate as to why. In a July 6, 2014 article by David Crowder in the El Paso Inc., Crowder quotes Ann Morgan Lilly as stating that city council “was unhappy with” Shang. Crowder goes on two quote Larry Romero as stating that Shang was “pretty much be asked to leave”. The rest of the city council membership has been quoted as not being aware of the details of Shang’s paid leave.

These quotes gives credence to the speculation that Jane Shang was placed on administrative leave as a result of conflict with city council and, or Joyce Wilson. There is, however, other speculation that Shang was given a “golden parachute” as a result of Joyce Wilson’s departure as city manager.

The Des Moines Register, in an article by Joel Aschbrenner and Timothy Meinch posted on July 4, 2014, quotes Joyce Wilson as stating that Shang “was not being removed for cause or anything that would be detrimental to her future opportunities”. Wilson added, “she helped Shang exercise a favorable exit agreement with the city in light of a new city manager who was hired and ‘relationship issues’ with some council members”. The Register also quoted Wilson as stating, “Politics are politics, and sometimes this happens…it was a simple transaction that some council members for some reason are discussing in a way that is not appropriate”.

These are not comments of a former employer trying to avoid a lawsuit. These are comments from a former employer trying to help a former employee get a job.

On one hand, the speculation revolves around Jane Shang being put on leave because of a conflict with the elected body of the city. On the other hand, the speculation centers on the notion that she is being protected by Joyce Wilson.

Either scenario is unacceptable in a political system that is supposed to embrace the notion of representation through elected officials and the rule of law. Consider that for a moment; regardless of the scenario that you might believe is the reason for Jane Shang’s paid leave, the fact remains that it should be unacceptable to any community.

Yet, by all indications, Jane Shang continues to be paid for staying home.

How are those facts not representative of corruption within the city?

Incoming city manager Tommy Gonzalez has been quoted as stating that the agreement was made prior to him assuming office and that to reopen it could result in legal jeopardy for the city. In other words, the taxpayers of the city are better off paying Jane Shang approximately $152,774 for doing nothing, according to Gonzalez’ statements.

However, what about the apparent corruption? Is ignoring the questions of apparent corruption good for the community? Keep in mind that many recent city politicians pleaded guilty to public corruption for many years of corrupt practices at the city. Many millions of taxpayer funds have been lost to public corruptions that has been adjudicated so far. How many of those public corruption incidents were talked about publicly and yet the politicians and their administrators argued that it was better let it go?

4 thoughts on “The Jane Shang Affair

  1. This lady makes in one year to do nothing what I’ll make in three years busting my neck. Our city government hates us.

  2. Who knows? The City Shadow knows. Shang apparently got CC to spend almost $5MM on trolley prep but failed to get a binding commitment from TxDot for the remainder, a situation only remedied this month. That is not confidence-inspiring performance. Then she publicly stated that there would only be one renovated trolley with the rest being new ones, again contradicting the stated will of the previous CC. Finally, she contradicted JW’s official lie/line that the downtown signage was not related to the total cost of the stadium.

    For someone at that level, you don’t keep getting second chances. That is how Peppers sees it but I’m open to other evidence.

  3. No question Shang’s “deal” with the City of El Paso is sweet for her & bad for taxpayers. However it can be a large leap from sweet deal to corruption. If the sweet deal prevents her from successfully litigating against the City, then it might even be beneficial long term to the tax payers of El Aso. Of course it would be nice to not be in this position to begin with. Elect better people to City Council and we can take a big step toward preventing these scenarios. I would agree there is too much secrecy, but not everything that happens that we don’t like can be elevated to “corruption”.

  4. ken, if not corrupt then unethical for sure. wilson did this knowing it was her last day that she had the power to give shang a sweet deal at the taxpayers expense. now wilson is getting another job at the job core at the taxpayers expense, but should she ? it doesnt surprise me that lilly said she knew about the deal and that she didnt like shang. could be about the tree cutting deal, maybe not, but up to this point only lilly said that she knew about the deal during executive session. could wilson have only told her only ? limon, holguin, and robinson said they never heard of the deal. acosta is being quiet due to her deal with the city. noe, niland have said nada. even romero said he didnt know about it and was pissed when he found out. i think this is wilson giving her best bud a golden parachute before lilly screwed it up. the others dont like it and you cant blame them for screaming ,but they all know there is nothing they can do about it. hopefully, you would think the job corp would reconsider wilson for the job and demoine iowa would forget about shang due to this underhanded deal. wilson may have figured she had already pulled off the ballpark and destruction of city hall without answering to nobody. she probably figured why not and help my friend who gonzalez may get rid of anyway. screw the taxpayer. it may not be ethical, but its legal.

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