FARMINGTON — Aztec and Bloomfield city officials this week renewed their city managers' contracts, which included raises for both men.
While their duties vary among municipalities, city managers oversee city employees, maintain budgets and implement policies officials approve.
On Monday, Bloomfield City Councilors approved David Fuqua, 54, for another three years as city manager and awarded him a $10,000 annual raise, giving him a yearly salary of $120,000. Fuqua, who has worked for the city for four years, said he was happy with the council's decision.
Mayor Scott Eckstein said the move is an endorsement of Fuqua, who he credits with helping the city more than double in size this year. The city annexed 6,775 acres of San Juan County land, bringing in more tax potential from oil and gas companies on the land.
"Annexation of the plants will bring us some pretty good revenue," said Bloomfield City Councilor Curtis Lynch. "(Fuqua has) been a positive for us."
Over the last two years, Fuqua has been named as a defendant in two lawsuits, both alleging sexual harassment.
A lawsuit filed by former city employees, Julie Baird and Julie Rasor, alleged sexual discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation against Fuqua and the city. The case was settled for $200,000 this summer.
Another sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit brought against Fuqua and the city last year by former employee Jane Christensen is expected to be settled next month.
Fuqua said both lawsuits are without merit.
As city manager, Fuqua oversees 130 employees and maintains an annual budget of $18 million, with $1 million in cash reserves.
Also on Monday, Josh Ray's contract with the city of Aztec was renewed for one more year, and he received a 3.15 percent raise, boosting his salary from $104,030 to $107,300.
Ray oversees more than 100 employees and the city's $33 million annual budget with $18 million in reserves. Mayor Sally Burbridge said when Ray was hired as city manager in 2010, the city "handed him a list of 47 things that were unfinished projects."
"By the end of this budget year, the only projects from that list will be the pool and recreation center, the sewer outfall line and the arterial route," Burbridge said. "Those are the only projects that won't be completed, and on two of those there's been massive movement. ... To me, that's impressive in just four years."
Ray said he likes the small-town charm of Aztec and believes his co-workers and the city's residents matter the most.
"I am most proud of the team we have built in Aztec," he said. "We have a strong commission, excellent senior staff members and a very talented team that has renovated our community."
Salaries for city managers in New Mexico range widely. This year, Santa Fe City Manager Brian Snyder received a $10,000 raise and a four-year contract worth $140,000. In Albuquerque, Rob Perry received a 22 percent raise last year, lifting his annual salary to $180,000.
Earlier this year, the Farmington City Council also renewed the contract for its city manager, Rob Mayes, 50.
Unlike Aztec and Bloomfield, Mayes' contract stipulates his employment with the city "shall remain in full force ... until terminated by the employer," according to his employment agreement.
When the council approved his contract in March, Mayes received a 4 percent raise, meaning he now earns an annual salary of $140,774.
Mayes oversees more than 1,000 employees and maintains an annual budget of $256 million and about $21 million in cash reserves.
Mayes was appointed to city manager in 2008, at a time when the recession was already affecting the city's ability to operate, he said. Mayes said he's proud the staff was able to maintain the same level of services, even with less revenue.
"To that, I give credit to my team," he said. "We're moving in a positive way that is really benefitting our community."