City Manager Gonzales given raise and another year

Truth or Consequences City Commissioners renewed City Manager Angela Gonzales’ contract for another year and gave her a $10,000 raise, upping her salary to $100,000, at the May 8 regular meeting.

Gonzales thanked the city commissioners for “believing in me” and said, “I was brought here for a reason,” and “I didn’t think I could learn so much in a year.”

Mayor Rolf Hechler suggested the $10,000 raise, reasoning that the $100,000 was “still well below” what the city paid Bruce Swingle, the previous city manager, who received a $150,000 yearly salary. Hechler also said Gonzales has had to pick up some of the city finance director’s duties. Gonzales fired Finance Director Kristie Wilson November 2023 and the city has yet to find her replacement.

Hechler said that the city commission drafted goals for Gonzales at the last city commission meeting, referring to an executive or closed session. Hechler did not indicate if Gonzales had been given a performance review by the city commission for her first year, and if so, on what basis.

Other than Hechler’s comments, the city commission said nothing, followed by a unanimous vote to renew her contract and to increase her salary by $10,000.

Hechler, then-Mayor Amanda Forrister (now mayor pro tem), then-City Commissioner Shelly Harrelson, City Commissioner Destiny Mitchell and City Commissioner Merry Jo Fahl hired Gonzales behind closed doors without revealing the field or number of competing applicants or what they were looking for in a city manager. Gonzales

When Gonzales was hired she was a business manager for New Mexico State University’s Aggie Health & Wellness Center in Las Cruces. She held that position for three years.

For 13 years, from 2007 to 2020, Gonzales was county manager for Union County, which has a population of 4,107, according to the U.S. Census, and is located in the northeastern part of New Mexico.

From 2003 to 2007 Gonzales was the assistant county manager and DWI coordinator for Union County.

From 2001 to 2003 she was an administrative assistant to the Town of Clayton city manager, which is the county seat of Union County.

 

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Kathleen Sloan
Kathleen Sloan

Kathleen Sloan has been a local-government reporter for 17 years, covering counties and cities in three states—New Mexico, Iowa and Florida. She has also covered the arts for various publications in Virginia, New Mexico and Iowa. Sloan worked for the Truth or Consequences Herald newspaper from 2006 to 2013; it closed December 2019. She returned to T or C in 2019 and founded the online newspaper, the Sierra County Sun, with Diana Tittle taking the helm as editor during the last year and a half of operation. The Sun closed December 2021, concurrent with Sloan retiring. SierraCountySun.org is still an open website, with hundreds of past articles still available. Sloan is now a board member of the not-for-profit organization, the Sierra County Public-Interest Journalism Project, which supported the Sun and is currently sponsoring the Sierra County Citizen, another free and open website. Sloan is volunteering as a citizen journalist, covering the T or C beat. She can be reached at kathleen.sloan@gmail.com or 575-297-4146.

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