EL PASO, Texas - City officials said Thursday new City Manager Tommy Gonzalez's contract was stamped by the city clerk days before it was signed because it's a standard procedure.
Gonzalez's contract says it's effective May 20, the day City Council publicly voted to offer Gonzalez the job and he accepted. The final signed copy of the contract indicates it was stamped by the City Clerk on May 15, five days before the vote.
Here's a timeline of events: On May 12, the City had a news conference saying council didn't vote but came to consensus to start negotiations with Gonzalez. Then on May 15, the city clerk stamped Gonzalez's contract. And on May 20, the City publicly voted to offer Gonzalez the contract and he accepted.
City Clerk Richarda Momsen said her office stamped the contract before the vote to indicate it had received it and would post it on the City's online agenda for the meeting on the 20th when Council voted to offer Gonzalez the job.
The copy on the agenda for that Tuesday's cCouncil meeting did not show the city clerk's stamp from the 15th; only the signed final copy had the stamp.
Asked to explain, Momsen said that's because her office gets two copies of everything: a PDF and a hard copy.
The PDF gets automatically posted on the city website and the hard copy gets stamped and filed in her office.
She said Gonzalez and the Mayor after the May 20 vote, signed the hard copy version with the stamp from her office, as is standard procedure.
"All of the hard copies are the ones that get signed," Momsen said.
Asked how City Council determined the terms of the contract, City Representatives had different versions.
City Representatives Larry Romero, Lily Limon and Eddie Holguin said they expressed support for Gonzalez not getting paid more than Wilson.
"The majority of council agreed to have it be similar to Wilson's or at least not more," said Holguin.
City Rep. Michiel Noe describes the experience differently.
"I would say that that is not correct; that having it mirror Ms. Wilson's was an absolute insistence from Mayor Leeser. I'm sure some people would have considered something higher and I'm sure some people would have wanted something lower," Noe said. "Leeser had already decided on the terms of the contract within his own mind."
Asked if Council deliberated on the contract terms, Noe said "No and we wouldn't have been given the opportunity to anyway. It was non negotiable."
Mayor Oscar Leeser sent ABC-7 a statement saying "In the interest of fiscal responsibility, I was unwilling to support paying any candidate for City Manager more than Ms. Wilson was being paid. The contract was presented to Council for their approval and was not final until after theCcouncil deliberated and voted to approve it on May 20th."
The other City Representatives could not be reached for comment.