El Paso Mayor To City Attorney And Manager ‘Don’t Take The Raise’
Unless you are a lotto winner, you are probably tightening your financial belt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we've seen with the layoffs, furloughs, and business failures, nobody's job is safe. One day you've got a paycheck, and the next, you're a City employee getting furloughed or let go from your job completely.
That's why there was so much controversy about the raises that El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and City Attorney Karla Nieman were set to get this year. Gonzalez's contract and job performance allowed for an $18,000 raise, and Nieman was in line for a $5,100 raise. To be fair, each has a contract, did the job to the satisfaction of City Council, and got what their contract said they should get. In the grand scheme of things, $20,000 in an almost billion dollar City budget is kind of like $.50 in your household budget. Gonzalez's and Nieman's raises weren't going to break the City's bank, but it sure did look bad.
Mayor Dee Margo told Mike and Tricia Mornings listeners a couple of weeks ago that City Council had no choice but to give out the raises due to contractual obligations, but Tuesday afternoon Margo took to social media and suggested that the pair refuse their raises.
The tweet started out with pretty straight forward language - "...now is not the time to accept a pay increase."
His next tweet brought up furloughed City employees and put the onus of accepting the raise on Gonzalez and Nieman.
You can read the whole thread by clicking here. Mike and I did hold the Mayor's feet to the fire about the pay raises when he was on the air. He did give the only explanation he could - that City Council had to give the pay raises. I'm just glad to see that he has taken a stand against the raises. It's not a huge amount of money, but it is a huge acknowledgement that people making well into the six figures can tighten their belts alongside the rest of us.