The City announced a few days ago that City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and City Attorney Karla Nieman both received performance evaluations that exceeded standards between June 2021 and June 2022, triggering automatic pay raises for both.
Gonzalez earned a score of 3.63 out of 4, raising his salary 5%, to $424,595.
Nieman earned a score of 4.28 out of 5, raising her salary 2%, to $285,797.
Since Gonzalez assumed office in June 2014, our City Property tax rate has risen 38%, from $0.66 to $0.91 per $100 of valuation, while our population has grown less than 5%. In fact, our population has declined by more than 2,000 people since 2019, the first measurable drop since the Great Depression. Our debt has skyrocketed, and now El Paso holds more CO debt than the five largest cities in Texas combined.
Under the terms of his newly extended contract, Gonzalez could be earning as much as $597,449 by the time it expires in 2029.
Make no mistake about. Gonzalez stands for the nefarious agenda of the Oligarchs, who have instrumentalized our City government and milked the taxpayers in order to achieve their private objectives.
As for Nieman, she should have been fired after she lied to City Council and the public on November 13, 2018, telling them that the 2,313-acre land swap with Paul Foster would be canceled if the Great Wolf Lodge deal collapsed. In fact, there was no such provision in the contract and Foster not only received the public land, but he also got the City to create TIRZ 13 for him so that he and his business partners get a half-century of property tax forgiveness and other benefits for the 9,000+ homes they plan to build there, costing the taxpayers hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue.
As our property tax rate surpasses that of number one Detroit and our debt reaches levels never imagined, our City Council is rewarding two of the City employees who are most responsible.
Let’s hope the Oligarchy Caucus on City Council loses their majority after the election this November and that these two contracts will be revisited in January.
See the report by Anthony Jackson of the El Paso Times for the best coverage.
Photo credit: Briana Sanchez and Ruben R. Ramirez of the El Paso Times.