KFOX14 INVESTIGATES: City of El Paso paying above market rate for city manager
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) —
Part of City Manager Tommy Gonzalez's new contract includes an annual review of how other city managers are paid, to make sure he's getting the best market rate. That includes nine southwest cities. KFOX14 Investigates reached out to all of them.
Those cities are Arlington, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; and Oklahoma City.
These are the base salaries but we also examined other forms of compensation contained in the agreements plus the potential for raises.
FORT WORTH: $340,704
SAN ANTONIO: $475,000
OKLAHOMA CITY: $251,860
Tuesday, city council approved a five year deal for Gonzalez. His five year deal could cost tax payers almost $2 million for the duration of the contract.
KFOX14 Investigates found Gonzalez’s total compensation is above average. He has a current salary of $330,750 a year plus a $6,000 car allowance. He's poised to collect almost $350,000 if he receives his 5 percent merit based raise in June. That put him on a par with the city managers in Fort Worth and Austin. He's making more than the city managers in Arlington, Tucson, Oklahoma City and Phoenix.
Gonzalez manages 6,000 employees and has the option for 5 percent merit based raises every year.
The city manager of Phoenix, Ed Zuercher, who manages more than 14,000 employees, makes $315,000. He's held the position since 2013, one year longer than Gonzalez.
His office says there are no provisions for a raise in his contract and he has not asked for a raise since 2014.
The city manager's office in Forth Worth also added their city manager has no annual or merit based raise in their contract.
Oklahoma city recently gave its city manager just under a three percent raise. Yet at the same time, the city will give its police officer's a 3.3 percent raise.
The El Paso Police Union said the city manager has offered them a 1.5 percent raise in the face of increase health insurance costs.
Only the city manager in Dallas, who makes $395,000, and San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley, who makes $475,000, have a substantially higher total compensation package than Gonzalez. Sculley has been the city manager of San Antonio, a city with 1.6 million people, for 13 years. Her salary started at $300,000.
We also checked cities outside of the southwest.
Charlotte’s city manager makes $300,000 while the city manager is Las Vegas earns $266,500.
The cities we reached out to, responded immediately with their city managers' contract information. Meanwhile, the City of El Paso has yet to release a copy of Gonzalez's agreement.
We asked for a copy of it Tuesday and submitted an open records request.