It’s All About the Spin

Did you see this story about El Paso’s newest Public Private Partnership? From the El Paso Times:

Fivestars, a San Francisco-based technology company, is setting up shop in El Paso.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved about $130,000 in incentives for the company over a five-year period to open its office in Downtown El Paso.

Fivestars provides customer loyalty-rewards programs for about 12,000 small businesses across the country, according to the company.

The customer service technology company is set to hire more than 50 employees over the next three months. The office will open at the Chase Tower building, officials said.

Is a customer service technology company a call center? Or what’s the difference?

Officials said the company will pay an average wage of $40,450 and will retain a minimum of 90 percent of its employees annually.

“Officials” said the company will pay an average wage of $40,450.

Gee, what a great deal. Can I get that in writing?


According to the written agreement:

The Applicant’s eligibility to receive any Grant Payments from the City shall be determined
pursuant to and in accordance with 90% of Applicant’s Full Time employees earning at or above
the Median County Wage of $13.11 per hour and the retention of at least 90% or 46 of its
employees each year for the 5 years this agreement is in place.

$13.11 times 40 hours a week times 52 weeks equals $27268.80. $40,450 works out to be about $19.50 an hour.

Well, it’s better than a poke in the eye.


  1. Elected representatives, across the city, county, state, and even the federal level have absolutely no room in their collective agendas for the good of the idiots who elected them these days, do they? Stop with the *incentives* to business already! Remember who is paying the real bills! Our pockets are *not* bottomless, and sooner or later, we will run out of money for your gewgaws and bright, shiny baubles!

  2. Let me get this straight, they’re saying the payroll will be $2,022,500, if they’re paying workers $13.11 an hour, this means the 49 worker bees are earning $1,336,171.20. This leaves the manager or boss with a salary of $686,328.80 a year. I want to apply for that manager’s job. Let’s play a game and see what the figures are if there’s ONE manager, and three assistant managers under him. Same $2,022,500 but 46 worker bees at $13.11. Keep in mind though we’re also postulating a 52 week work year. Time off throws this even MORE out of kilter. 46 workers are paid a total of $1,254,364.80. This means the top staff shares in $768,135.20. Let’s now assume the top guy gets twice what lower level management gets. Lower level gets $153,627.04, boss gets $307,254.08. Hmmmm, methinks someone is lying through their teeth.

    1. Except that FiveStars said their employees will be making an average wage of $41,450, not $13.11/hour. As I understand it, requiring compensation “at or above the Median County Wage of $13.11/hour” is a standard provision of the city’s Chapter 380 agreements, hence the inclusion of that number. I just checked on Glassdoor (that website where employees anonymously review their employers and self-report their salaries) and salaries at FiveStars seem to be in line with what they promised for El Paso, bottoming out around the high-30s plus range (and somewhat higher for software engineers, etc.). Their job listings confirm that too.

      A little research goes a long way.

      1. I am happy to have a legitimate employer paying good wages in El Paso. It’s good for everyone. But I am so accustomed to the City lying to us about these deals that I am always skeptical when they say something. Thanks for doing the legwork.

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