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2 highest paid El Paso city execs to get $20k in raises amid budget cuts and layoffs during pandemic

El Paso Matters
The sign out in front of El Paso City Hall.

EL PASO, Texas -- The two highest paid city of El Paso administrators are set to get more than $20,000 combined in raises coming up in September.

Those raises will come amid city budget cuts and ongoing furloughs due to the pandemic.

City manager Tommy Gonzalez has a current salary of more than $361,000 annually and is getting a 5% raise, which amounts to just over $18,000. Before the raise, he already made more than counterparts in larger cities such as Dallas and Phoenix.

City attorney Karla Nieman currently makes more than $256,000 a year thousand and is set to get a 2% raise, which would be in increase of $5,100.

Mayor Dee Margo said Wednesday that these are merit raises, based on job performance, which were built into the two contracts when they were approved last year by El Paso City Council.

Margo says both Nieman and Gonzalez had high ratings in a number of areas.

However, the city only released the mayor’s evaluation and did not disclose the evaluations from individual city council members.

ABC-7 archives show the city has released evaluations showing comments from every member of council on prior occasions.

Margo maintains the final performance ratings for the two were based on a consensus of the council, but the El Paso Times reported Wednesday that some council members felt their voices weren't heard.

"We had a meeting with all members of council, came up with a consensus. Irrespective of the fact that one or two council members may say their voices weren’t heard, that is factually incorrect," the mayor told ABC-7.

The Times also reported that council member Alexsandra Annello had a lot of concerns and felt the community’s voice was removed from the process.

She and other council members did not immediately respond to requests for comment from ABC-7.

Margo says the money for the salary hikes was budgeted for as part of the city's general fund, which is used, in part, to pay city employee salaries.

It is up to Nieman and Gonzalez if they decide to accept the raises.

The Times quoted Gonzalez as saying he planned to give his raise to a charity helping with Covid-19 relief efforts.

Meanwhile, the city has $69 million less in its budget for next year.

How that budget should be prioritized will be discussed during a virtual town hall being held by city officials on Aug. 12 at 6 p.m.

The public can participate in the meeting next Wednesday by either calling 915-213-4096 or clicking here and entering the Conference ID number: 524 559 903#

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Shelby Montgomery

Las Cruces native Shelby Montgomery is an ABC-7 reporter who also co-anchors Good Morning El Paso weekends.



  1. The city could do nothing else. It was in their contract. The city council sign off was a mere formality. The city was contractually obligated with no other options.

  2. Wow. Anyone with integrity would decline it in the midst of a pandemic with the city in the hole 100 million I think? Nieman really needs it.

  3. And the demoKKKrat maching keeps rolling on with impunity. Never mind the suffering of the people of El Paso. Keep the bureaucrats happy. Never mind the thousands of people losing their livelihood with the minimum wage. As long as the contracts are kept for the people that need it the least. Does not surprise me in the least coming from the heavily filled demoKKKrats positions.

      1. Name one, clown. There are few major cities that have G.O.P. mayors or councils.

        Jacksonville, Florida.

        Democrats OWN THE CHAOS. They OWN the ARSON and VIOLENCE. STFU.

  4. All the El Paso PROPERTY OWNERS are gonna get a RAISE also… In the form of ElPasoCAD evaluations, which in turn increases taxes! Lube up Hell Pisso! Haha

  5. Jameshasbeen, albertoDesmadre, and mierDave the three Right Wing Stooges have the attitude of 15 year old teenagers smoking bad Skunk Weed behind the school auditorium. But in reality they are old farts smelling up the place on this site. Did you guys graduate from junior high back in the day? I got a feeling you didn’t make it that far because all the other kids probaly kicked your useless ass everyday.

  6. You idiots have no Point of view, no Opinion, no Expression, Nothing to say except schoolyard taunts and childish name calling. Come on man, stop wasting time on here and try another hobby. Quit trying to be like your Hero Trump.

  7. The 7 white madmikes/Albertvelarde/Jamesben/original maga/K1DPR/gee dubb/ Jeff Allen/ etc are WHITE El Paso bigots/pedophiles/racist /dumb local government tit sucklebusters. Here for the free government handouts. Hate the city but would starve anywhere else. They stay home, bash El Paso, all while their wives work. Modern day house husbands. Vile lazy white men living in our town. It’s ok, they live scared inside their homes. Stay there.

  8. The Trump Bunch probably hung out at some old man’s bar on the Northeast before the Covid and bugged the shit out of the bartenders with their drunk Racist bullshit. Now they are doing it on this site. But we are not bartenders. We can call them out for their Nazi views and White Nationalist Racist bullshit! FUCKTRUMPTHENAZI!! and his hillbilly bunch, too.

  9. Hey. I think the Trump Bunch are all tuckered out. Too worn out to defend their KKK Imperial Wizard Donald Johnnie Trump. Good bye Johnnie. We knew you so well!

  10. Boy, that’s par for the course. City claiming poverty but handing out fat, bloated raises. Well, stand by for another raise in property tax and inflated home values.

  11. Worthless, parasitic, blood sucking ticks? Trump also comes to Mind! We will see when New York DA’s look at his Deutsche Bank paperwork. Racist, Slumlord. Just another Con that got rich defrauding people out of their money and suing everybody else to get out of paying them for their services. But the Trump Bunch of dumb Hillbillies LOvE him.

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