El Paso City Council extends City Manager Tommy Gonzalez's contract until 2029

·3 min read

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez is staying in El Paso.

After the El Paso City Council voted Monday to extend Gonzalez's contract in an effort to keep him from leaving, Gonzalez withdrew his name from the applicant pool for the same position in Frisco, Texas.

“I am overwhelmed with the support I have received from the community, our employees, and the City Council. With this in mind, I have removed myself from the city manager search in Frisco, Texas,” Gonzalez said in a city news release Monday. “I’m committed to El Paso. We’re not finished here.”

Gonzalez's contract was amended after council members were in executive session for more than four hours.

On a 5-3 vote, city representatives extended Gonzalez's contract with the city until June 24, 2029, and instilled a salary cap of $450,000 a year. The amendment also will guarantee that the city will pay its contribution portion to Gonzalez's pension plan.

More: El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez among finalists for Frisco, Texas, job

More: Anti-abortion protesters rally at El Paso City Hall, oppose women's rights commission

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez is a finalist for the same position in Frisco, Texas.
City Manager Tommy Gonzalez is a finalist for the same position in Frisco, Texas.

The salary cap may be raised if the average base salaries for the three highest comparison cities outlined in the agreement raise their city manager pay over $450,000.

City Reps. Claudia Rodriguez, Alexsandra Annello and Joe Molinar voted against the amendment, while Peter Svarzbein, Cassandra Hernandez, Isabel Salcido, Henry Rivera and Cissy Lizarraga voted for it.

Another agenda item to review the annual performance evaluation for Gonzalez and City Attorney Karla Nieman was left untouched as the council took no action on it.

The executive session meeting Monday comes days after Frisco, Texas, announced Gonzalez was a finalist for the same position in that city.

Annello said before the vote to amend the contract that while she thinks Gonzalez is doing a good job for the city, she couldn't support the amendment.

"I think Mr. Gonzalez is doing a fantastic job, but there are things in this contract that do not protect the citizens of El Paso and council did not want to take those up today," Annello said. "They only wanted to discuss things that were determined between one city representative and Mr. Gonzalez in private, and I don't think that's appropriate."

More: The reasons for my choice should not matter, this is my body: Letter to the Editor

More: Border Patrol capacity strained, 100 migrants released in Downtown El Paso

Gonzalez's contract includes a $230 biweekly "automobile allowance," among other benefits, and a hefty severance package.

The conditions of the severance package state that in the instance of resignation, nonrenewal of agreement or termination by the city without good cause, Gonzalez would be paid, in one lump sum, a year's worth of current base salary, plus benefits.

The city agrees to pay out, in addition to the year's salary, all granted and accrued but unused vacation and sick leave, as well as his automobile allowance to the date of termination of the agreement.

Gonzalez was appointed as El Paso's city manager in June 2014, and the city renewed his contract in 2018. His contract was set to expire in 2024. Gonzalez began his career in El Paso with a salary of almost $239,000. His salary is now $404,377.

Frisco is about 28 miles north of Dallas.

Anthony Jackson may be reached at ADJackson@elpasotimes.com and @TonyAnJackson on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: El Paso City Council extends City Manager Tommy Gonzalez's contract