DALLAS — In Big D Wednesday morning, the City Council discussed big dollars to be spent on promoting an insider who will manage the city.
In a new contract, the city agreed to pay Interim City Manager A.C. Gonzalez $400,000 a year to take the job on a permanent basis.
"I think it's too big a jump; I am very reluctant to support that," said District 12 Council member Sandy Greyson.
"A.C., I believe the amount we've given you is a small amount compared to what you'll bring to this City," said District 9 representative Sheffie Kadane.
In the end, only two of 14 Council members voted against the contract, and so they passed Dallas' highest base salary for a city manager — here or anywhere using the council-manager system of city government.
Here are city manager salaires in the other four largest U.S. cities using this system:
- Phoenix — $315,000, (per the Arizona Republic)
- San Antonio — $375,000 (per KENS-TV)
- San Jose, California — $250,000 (per San Jose Mercury News)
- Austin — $301,544 (per The Texas Tribune)
As interim city manager, Gonzalez made $250,000.
"That's a pretty large jump," said Dallas employment attorney Matt Scott.
He says the figure of $400,000 doesn’t surprise him — except when compared to Dallas’ last city manager, Mary Suhm. Her salary topped out at $305,000.
"That’s about a 25 percent difference, and that seems a little off to me," Scott said, adding he believes Suhm was underpaid.
That belief is leading others to question whether Suhm was paid less because of gender bias.
"That’s not an unusual reaction for someone to react and say, 'It’s because she’s a woman.' I can’t say it is or it isn’t," Scott said. "The only people that really know would be Mary and whether or not she thought she was fairly paid, and the other Council members."
But with Wednesday's vote, the focus is now on Gonzalez. This Council no doubt expects to get what they've paid for.