Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
City Manager Tommy Gonzalez’s employment contract will not automatically renew in May.
Rather than allowing the City Council to vote on whether to prevent the employment agreement from renewing on May 1, Gonzalez instead notified the Council at Thursday’s meeting that he was voluntarily pulling the renewal clause from his contract.
The City Council then unanimously voted to withdraw an agenda item about the contract, thus nullifying debate over the controversial contract and a sending packed room of supporters and critics outside of Council chambers.
“It’s been a privilege to be the City Manager of this City, and I would like to continue in that capacity,” Gonzalez said. “I’m amenable to negotiating a new contract that is acceptable to the City Council.”
In late January, the Council listened to roughly an hour of public comment about Gonzalez’s contract. Some championed him for saving the City millions of dollars, while others questioned his leadership.
The Council voted at that January meeting to hire an outside law firm to negotiate a new contract for Gonzalez.
The value of his salary and benefits has been debated, but his base salary is about $246,000, according to City documents. He receives another $66,000 in insurance, vacation and other benefits. He also is paid another $7,800 in incentive pay, which is available to other City employees for reasons such as a sick leave buyback program.
He is paid about $67,000 in contributions and about $40,000 for housing. Finally, he is eligible for performance retention pay, which this year is about $60,000.
Gonzalez also asked Thursday that any discussion about his employment agreement with the City be discussed in closed executive session. He also said he was willing to agree to a contract that was “mutually acceptable” to both the City and to him.
“We have the best employees on the planet,” he said. “They are wonderful to work for … and there’s so much more we can accomplish in the future.”
In recent weeks, Gonzalez has come under fire for allegedly soliciting and accepting sports tickets from companies that later scored business contracts with the City of Irving. Despite reports, a criminal complaint has not been filed against Gonzalez.
Gonzalez’ contract was drawn in 2008. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Texas Tech University and a bachelor’s degree in government from Eastern New Mexico University.
He has worked as an assistant city manager for the City of Dallas and for the City of Lubbock. He was also the city manager of Harlingen, TX.