With much public debate over San Antonio city manager Sheryl Sculley’s salary and the $75,000 bonus the city council approved Thursday, how does her pay stack up compared to other city managers?
Focusing on the 30 largest cities in the country, only nine use a council-manager form of government. San Antonio is the second-largest of these cities behind Phoenix. This form of government is popular in the southwest.
Phoenix is the largest city to use the council-manager form of government with 1.6 million residents. Ed Zuercher has been the city manager there since 2013 and has been responsible for overseeing 14,500 city employees. KNXV-TV reports Zuercher is paid just shy of $315,000 a year. Zuercher has been a long-term city employee climbing the ranks. He has previously served as the public transit director, deputy city manager, chief of staff to the mayor and assistant city manager in Phoenix.
San Antonio is the second-largest city on the list — home to 1.5 million people — and one of several large Texas cities to use a council-manager form of government. Sheryl Sculley has been in charge of the Alamo City’s daily operations since 2005 and earns $475,000 a year to do so. She is responsible for overseeing the city’s 12,000 employees. Sculley was an assistant city manager in Phoenix for 16 years before moving in San Antonio.
Dallas is one of the principal cities in the largest metropolitan area in Texas and home to 1.3 million people. T.C. Broadnax was brought in to serve as city manager in 2017 after working in Tacoma, Wash., as that community’s city manager. Broadnax is a former San Antonio assistant city manager. He left that position for the Tacoma opportunity in 2012. The City of Dallas pays Broadnax $375,000 for his services, according to the Texas Tribune.
San Jose is the largest city in California to have a city manager. Just over 1 million people live in the city. Dave Sykes was appointed to become that city’s new city manager this past September. Sykes is a long-time government employee for the city, getting his start as a part-time engineering trainee in 1987. He has also been the city’s public works director and city engineer. It is not clear what his current salary is, but he earned about $260,000 as the assistant city manager in 2016 — about a grand less than his boss. However, benefits have ballooned Sykes’ compensation to a total of $479,000 according to a report earlier this year — more than his boss.
Austin — just up the highway from San Antonio — appointed a new city manager last month, after the previous city manager Marc Ott resigned 14 months into the job. Spencer Cronk comes to Austin from Minneapolis where he was the city coordinator. Reports say he will earn a salary similar to his predecessor, which was about $309,000.
Fort Worth — the other half of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex — has David Cooke serving as its city manager. He has been in the role since 2014. Cooke was previously the deputy county manager in Wake County, N.C. As of 2016, he earned just shy of $315,000 a year.
Charlotte is home to over 840,000 people and is the largest city on the East Coast to have a city manager. Marcus Jones has been serving that role since 2016, earning $300,000 per year. His background includes working in Norfolk, Va., as the city manager.
El Paso’s city manager, Tommy Gonzalez, has been with the city since 2014. Prior to his time in the border city, he was the city manager for the City of Irving, Texas. The Army veteran has also worked for the City of Dallas, City of Harlingen, and the City of Lubbock. The El Paso Times says Gonzalez got a $15,000 raise in 2017, bumping his base pay to $315,000 per year in what was described as an “average” evaluation rating. He scored a 3.81 on the five-point scale. That city has also expressed some angst over their city manager’s salary. Gonzalez was originally paid under $240,000, but got bumped up to $300,000 to compete with the other large Texas cities. More than 680,000 people call El Paso home.
Las Vegas city manager Scott Adams took over the position in July 2017. He had been serving as deputy city manager before getting the promotion. Adams has served in several economic development roles in several cities, including Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Norfolk, Jacksonville, and Memphis. He is being paid $245,000. The city is home to more than 630,000 people.