KFOX14 Investigates: City Council approves employee contract for city manager
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) —
The City of El Paso will keep City Manager Tommy Gonzalez for five more years.
City council went ahead to approve the five-year contract with Gonzalez without one of the perks that KFOX14 Investigates first told you about.
One perk that was eliminated, up to $160,000 in legal fees for the city manager.
The legal fees were part of a copy of the agreement obtained by KFOX14 Investigates which was dated Dec. 6, 2018, and discussed at a Dec. 7 meeting meeting of the Financial Oversight Committee.
“What was released was improper and very disappointing,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “It was in the middle of the negotiations.”
Margo said some of the details contained in the agreement leaked and obtained by KFOX14 Investigates were not part of the agreement with Gonzalez.
The contract includes Gonzalez's current a base salary of $330,750 with the eligibility for a 5 percent merit based-based raise in June of 2019. There’s also a provision to increase compensation based on a nine city-city comparison. Currently, City Rep. Dr. Sam Morgan said Gonzalez is above average in the city compensation comparison.
His car allowance remains at $6,000 a year.
In the end, Margo said the only financial items added to the agreement are disability, life insurance and pension contributions.
“Which is normal for an executive of his level,” said Margo.
According to the city, travel and accommodations for Gonzalez to see a doctor in Dallas, up to $2,500, remains in the contract. The mayor said that’s not a new benefit. City Rep Dr. Sam Morgan also told KFOX14 Investigates it's been in the contract since day one.
KFOX14 Investigates compared the proposed agreement to the city manager’s original 2014 contract, travel costs for medical reasons and legal fees were not in the original contract or in any amendment to the contract made public since 2014.
Margo also addressed criticism that the agreement was being rushed through the final days of the current council.
“The imputer that this was a rushed event is wrong, we've been going back and forth for weeks negotiating,” said Margo.
Dozens of police officers and spouses signed up to speak to council on Tuesday on their time off, as the current contract proposed to the police union includes rising health insurance costs and a minimal raise. They waited nine hours for the opportunity to speak.
Gonzalez is eligible for a 5 percent merit-based raise in June 2019 when the contract will renew for five years.
KFOX14 asked the city for a copy of the new agreement that was voted on Tuesday but were told to put in an open records request.
Reps. Alexsandra Annello and Cassandra Hernandez were the only representatives to vote against the agreement, stating they wanted to postpone the item until January.