EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez’s annual pay broke $400,000 this fiscal year, according to city documents obtained by KTSM 9 News.
Gonzalez’s annual pay now totals $404,377, or nearly $195 an-hour, according to employee data. He is out-earning his Austin and Fort Worth counterparts an analysis shows.
Trey Yelverton, the city manager in Arlington, makes $323,836 a year. Yelverton has held his position since 2012. And, Spencer Cronk in Austin is paid $350,000 a year.
David Cooke, the city manager in Fort Worth, earns $354,326.
Gonzalez, who was hired by the El Paso City Council in June, 2014, is making $164,418 more than he did when he started working for the city. In all, his salary could fund about 54 of the lowest paid positions at the city that include undergraduate interns, pool attendants and lifeguards.
In July, the El Paso City Council conducted a performance review for Gonzalez and city attorney Karla Nieman. Both received nearly perfect scores, earning them merit-increases in their pay, which are supported by their contracts with the city.
Gonzalez earned a five-percent merit increase to his pay.
The city only released total scores and generalized comments made by the mayor and City Council justifying their scores and merit-increases. Last year, the Texas Attorney General’s Office offered an opinion that the city could withhold individual scores and reviews of Gonzalez’s review but said the city could release them if they willed it.
The last two years, the city has tried to withhold the reviews of the city manager, a shift in policy as evaluations were routinely released before his contract was renewed in 2018.
Further analysis by KTSM found the city hired outside law firm Davidson, Troilo, Ream & Garza, P.C., a San Antonio-based firm, to assist the city attorney’s office in withholding the individuals reviews. The city paid nearly $25,000 to the law firm for its assistance to in the evaluation process and to keep documents out of public view.
The law firms receipts and invoices were redacted so as to not explain why the city was being billed for certain services. The city later clarified $3,000 out of the total were used to oppose the release of individual evaluations to the public.
For The Record: An earlier version of this story listed Trey Yelverton as the city manager in Fort Worth; he is actually the city manager for Arlington, Tx. The story has been updated with the position and hiring date.