KTSM.com (and others) report that City Manager Tommy Gonzalez is set to make almost $400,000 a year.
El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and City Attorney Karla Nieman have earned merit-related raises based on final scores on their 2021 performance evaluations.
A 5-percent increase to Gonzalez’s pay, based on a contractual entitlement, would put his pay for 2022 at approximately $398,401. A 2-percent increase, based on Nieman’s contract, would put her pay for 2022 at approximately $266,641.
$398,401 is a lot of cheddar.
Mayor Oscar Leeser had this to say about the City Manager’s raise, according to KTSM:
“The evaluations of the City Manager and the City Attorney were conducted in an inclusive manner by the entire City Council. Both evaluations were good and took into account their performance based on a number of factors surrounding a City of our size, with a billion dollar budget and 6,000 employees as we dealt with the Pandemic as a City.”
Personally, I’d be more supportive of raising the City Manager’s salary if he hadn’t driven the budget up to more than a billion dollars, but I guess Mayor Leeser has different ideas. Curious, innit, that a bigger budget justifies a bigger salary?
A Forbes article from 29 July 2020 titled Why Texas Is In Trouble—78,064 Public Employees With $100,000+ Paychecks Cost Taxpayers $12 Billion starts this way:
Everything is bigger in Texas—including the supersized salaries of its city managers, school superintendents, state staffers, and other public servants.
Last year, 78,064 state and local government employees made more than $100,000 each, and 18,600 of them out-earned Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who made $153,750.
The data Forbes used in the article is from 2018 or 2019, the latest years for which data was available at the time the story was written. At that time, Mr. Gonzalez, with a salary of $340,746, was the ninth most well paid City Manager in Texas. The article also included this tidbit:
El Paso gave a lengthy defense of their pay scale. Nevertheless, Tomas Gonzalez ($340,746), their city manager, outearned every four-star general in the U.S. military ($268,332) last year.
Some Texas cities are taking steps to limit the compensation of their City Managers. In 2018, San Antonio voters approved Proposition B, which appeared on the ballot like this:
Shall the City Charter be amended to limit the term the City Manager may serve to no longer than eight years, limit the compensation of the City Manager to no more than ten times the annual salary furnished to the lowest paid full-time city employee, and to require a supermajority vote to appoint the City Manager?
The proposition passed by a margin of almost 20%, 59% to 41%.
Erik Walsh, the City Manager of San Antonio, makes $320,000 a year, with no opportunity for bonuses.
El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez is currently in his seventh year on the job.