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The Interim Mayor and His Passion for Public Service

Presidente Gonzalo González

By Jesús Aguado

Gonzalo González has been directing San Miguel de Allende’s destiny since March, but October 9 will be his last day in the mayoral chair, as the new city council takes over in the first minutes of October 10 with a late-night, largely ceremonial meeting, as does Mayor-Elect Luis Alberto Villarreal.

González may be remembered by Sanmiguelenses as the mayor that approved the SIM (Integral Mobility System, which will bring metered parking to San Miguel). However, he stands by the decision, saying that it was done for the citizens of San Miguel. Also, he left open the possibility of being the secretary of the city council again. Prior to the administration’s third report on Friday, September 7, he granted us a final interview.

Jesús Aguadon: Has it been easy or complicated to direct the destiny of San Miguel?

Gonzalo González: Nothing is difficult when you do what you love. The challenges are major, but you can enjoy them. It is true that I had to make personal and family sacrifices in order to do a better job for the people of this city.

JA: Was it your desire to be mayor?

GG: Becoming mayor of your city is a great and important distinction. I never dreamed of it, but I saw the possibility when I began working in this 2015–2018 administration. When I found out that there would be an interim mayor, I got excited and thought,“I could be that. I want to be.”

JA: What about running for mayor and getting the popular vote? Did you see that as a possibility?

GG: It is not the time. It is not my desire to run for mayor. I love to work close to the people, but running for mayor? No, not now.

JA: Where do you see yourself after this administration ends?

GG: I’ve owned a company for the last 15 years; I currently have 25 employees that are administering 1,500 employees from different businesses. I see myself growing my company.

JA: And in the local government, where do you see yourself?

GG: As public servants, we are stigmatized most of the time, but I really love the contact with people, and I would love to keep working for San Miguel. I would like to occupy any position—it could be as a director or even the secretariat of the city council. I am a lawyer. But that [decision] does not depend on me.

JA: History could remember you as the mayor that approved metered parking in town.

GG: And I will always take the responsibility [for that] because I know the System of Integral Mobility will work to benefit Sanmiguelenses—giving them spaces in the Historic Center and better ways to get to school or to their offices. [The SIM] is to prevent tourists from getting to the Historic Center and occupying our parking spaces. We will encourage them to leave their cars at the entrances to San Miguel, and the traffic will stop. That is the idea of the plan, and we will be able to enjoy our town because we deserve it. I assure you, the SIM will work.

JA: What´s your advice for the new mayor?

GG: Luis Alberto Villarreal is a mature and experienced public servant. He has been a mayor, senator, and legislator. I would be better to take advice from him. But I would tell him to love his work—he will do that, I know, because he loves the local government.

JA: Your advice to the new secretary of the city council?

GG: My advice is for him or her is to be close to the citizens, the members of the city council, and the directors. It is a complicated job, mainly due to the contact with the people.

BOX

On March 24, former mayor Ricardo Villarreal—who became mayor on July 2, 2015—asked permission to leave office in order to run to become a federal legislator. He won that race and is now a member of the federal congress.

The same day, Gonzalo González resigned from the secretariat of the city council and was put forward as a possible interim mayor. The members of the city council accepted him.

Gonzalo González is a 44-year-old Sanmiguelense, an attorney who got his law degree from the Universidad de Guanajuato. He also has a master’s degree in constitutional rights and human rights law from Universidad Iberoamericana in León. He began working in local government in 2000 as director of the city’s legal department. In 2002, he was appointed as director of public services. From 2003–2006, he was director of social and human development. Then, in early 2006, he was designated the secretary of the city council, but he left that post on October 9 of the same year. From then, he worked as an attorney until October 9, 2015, when he returned as secretary of the city council.

 

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