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Making Dallas Even Better

After the A.C. Gonzalez Story: Is That All There Is?

As Zac and others pointed out, the Dallas City Council inexplicably voted to give new city manager A.C. Gonzalez a truly outrageous pay boost, from the $250K he made as interim manager to a whopping $400K. That’s nearly $100K more than what his predecessor, Mary Suhm, took home. As many have commented, this is galling on several fronts.

In a time of government austerity and minimal raises for other city employees, why in the world should Gonzalez—who post-Uber should thank his stars he got the gig at all—be worth that much more than Suhm, who for all her faults was competent and then some? Then there was the cavalier manner in which the vote was addressed: Sheffie Kadane prattling about what a small amount it was; Gonzalez wanting to hurry on “to the next level”; Mayor Mike Rawlings chirping, “Let’s do it.”

But now the question is: Isn’t there some way to reverse this in-your-face decision about the city manager’s pay? Seems to me it’s the type of issue that should have the taxpayers turning out at City Hall with pitchforks drawn. Or do we just say, “Dumb move. Really too bad they did that”? Surely the people that pay the freight for boneheaded stunts like this—uh, I think that’s you and me—can’t be steamrollered that easily.

  • Rick

    I like your use of populism in this post, but where were you (meaning your publishing company) when he was being “vetted?” I was surprised by AG’s salary, but I’m outraged that it will take a Super Majority on the Council to out him. That is a very big deal. The salary is window dressing.

  • Ted

    I think this A. C. Gonzalez thing falls under the same rule that leaves us in World Class Dallas with Internet speeds slower than Lithuania, IOW, because we did something bad when we were little, like when we took that cookie or did that bad thing under the bleachers. At least it’s not worse, so we can be grateful for that. But just wait till we get big. You just wait.

  • Not BUFFY

    Aside from tripping up on that whole Uber thing, are ya SERIOUS?? Of course he should be paid more than Suhm, who rumor has it, has worked solely for the City of Dallas since she was a high school student. He served two separate terms as Dallas’ assistant city manager; was president of a private investment firm; was deputy superintendent, then superintendent of the Austin Independent School District; and was the former city manager of the Texas cities of San Marcos, Carrizo Springs and Dilley.

    Suhm on the other hand, was an interim city manager, first assistant city manager, assistant city manager, executive assistant director of Dallas Police, director of courts, assistant to the Mayor, and branch library manager for the City of Dallas.

    They each average about 30 years in municipal government experience. However, if you investigate the depth of Gonzalez’ accomplishments in terms of money, people and projects managed in each of those positions, versus Suhm’s, you’ll discover his level of experience is well worth the money.

    Also, Dallas is a large urban city. Have you D magazine people even researched the average compensation of city managers for similarly-sized cities? You really should!

  • Wylie H Dallas

    I researched it. He’s now the most highly paid city manager in U.S. history.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    To be honest, I was caught flat-footed by the new requirement that it will take a super majority vote of the Council and Mayor to oust him— pure evil genius.

    I’m guessing that this much more proactive Council was making certain people nervous. The 2/3 requirement for ouster is the dead hand of the past reaching forward to control the future.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    I also can find no information about “Buerger Investments” other than the fact they have a bunch of registered legal entities.

    It would be interesting to know more about what he did when he was running that firm.

  • SBR

    “Certain people?” Well, see, according to Eric via Wick, we’re supposed to believe the Citizen’s Council no longer has any power in these type of matters.

  • Not BUFFY

    Wrong! He’s not THE most highly paid city manager in U.S. history. Do more research.

  • guest

    when is the sentencing coming for his acts against Uber ( and who knows what else)

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Who is paid more; I’m genuinely interested in knowing.

  • Not BUFFY

    C’mon. Simple easy Internet search will tell you everything you need to know.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Simple easy internet search indicates Gonzalez is the highest paid; that’s why I asked you for details.

  • Neal K

    Hi, AC! Nice of you to visit today.

  • tested

    the truth: you won’t find too many reporters chasing this story and that means few people in the city know about it at all. with all the layoffs and cutbacks over the past few years at newspapers and TV stations there just isn’t much coverage of city hall anymore. even when they do cover it, they give it very short attention and move on. channel 8 didn’t put bulldog Brett Shipp on this.. they put Teresa Woodard. a nice lady and seemingly a good reporter.. but not prone to hard hitting foot-in-the-door chasing down council member type questions. Besides, for all the outrage expressed at council and here.. the vote was 12-2. had it been closer.. the story might have gone further.

  • Tim Rogers

    Wylie, that’s not a new deal, is it? That’s a city charter thing. Two-thirds vote to remove has always the been the way it’s done.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    You are correct in that the city charter outlines a two-thirds majority, but the council is always free to negotiate a lower vote in the employment contract itself. It is my understanding that Council has availed themselves of that right in prior city manager contracts, and it would have made sense to do so in this case, given the controversy surrounding the appointment.

  • Mike

    Say, remember back in 2010 when the City Council told us that gosh, they just didn’t have any money and if they didn’t raise taxes kids wouldn’t be able to go to libraries or swim in pools and the city would just fall apart in general? Well i, for one, am glad to know that we’re so flush with that sweet moolah these days that we can afford to pay World Class salaries to World Class Bureaucrats like Mr. Gonzalez, for the children of course.

  • Not BUFFY

    Perhaps you’re not asking the proper search query. West Coast, California. Cities of Bell and Vernon. City managers there make oodles.

  • rulelea

    of course there is

    the people can do a recall of elected officials and they can replace him and his salary