Irving city manager's raise could make him state's highest paid

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by By BRANDON FORMBY / The Dallas Morning News

wfaa.com

Posted on June 12, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 5:04 PM

The Irving City Council on Thursday night agreed to a new employment deal with Tommy Gonzalez that could make him the highest compensated city manager in Texas.

The contract gives Gonzalez an annual compensation package worth more than $390,000, according to estimates and city documents viewed by The Dallas Morning News. City officials did not publicly release details of the agreement before Thursday's vote.

The new contract was approved on a 7-1 vote, with council member Beth Van Duyne dissenting. Council members did not discuss the terms before voting. At the direction of council member Rick Stopfer, City Secretary Janice Carroll declined to provide a copy of the agreement to The News after Thursday's meeting.

According to a comparison analysis by city officials, the new agreement gives Gonzalez a salary and benefits package that probably tops those of his counterparts in larger cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, San Antonio and Austin.

That benchmarking study includes the salaries and benefits of school district superintendents, the heads of DART and NTTA and private executives.

In a prepared statement, Van Duyne estimated that the new compensation total amounts to a 110 percent raise for Gonzalez since he first became city manager three years ago. Van Duyne said she believes he does a good job but doesn't feel the compensation package is prudent.

"Passing this raise at this time sends the entirely wrong message to our employees and citizens who are doing their best just to get by in this most severe of recessions," Van Duyne said.

Gonzalez took the helm of Irving City Hall three years ago after serving as an assistant city manager in Dallas for less than a year.

Before that, he was the city manager of Harlingen and the acting city manager of Lubbock.

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