Calexico City Council Vote No Pay Raise

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council voted down a measure that would give a $10,000 pay raise to City Manager Victor Carrillo.

The Council voted Tuesday 3-2 to deny the amendment employment agreement between the City of Calexico and Victor Carrillo that would increase his salary to $145,000 annually based on a positive evaluation of Carrillo’s efforts.

During the meeting, Calexico residents Eric Ortega and Morris Reisen spoke in favor of Carrillo’s salary increase. Reisen said that Carrillo has been very active and accessible and very supportive of the downtown area.

Mayor Pro Term John Moreno, Carrillo’s cousin, highlighted Carrillo’s work as City Manager saying that he was able to come to an agreement with City Employees and lifted the moral of employees by having an open door policy. Moreno said that he did some research and said that other City Managers in the Imperial Valley make more than the one in Calexico.

Ouzan echoed Moreno’s words saying that Carrillo has been doing a good job as City Manager and the council should do the right thing and approve the pay raise. Ouzan made a motion to approve the item having Moreno seconding the motion.

Councilman Luis Castro agreed that the City Manager has done a good job but the economic situation the City is going through right now, Castro said, it’s not ideal to raise his salary right now. He said they could another look six months from now to analyze what is the state of Calexico.

Councilman Willy Hermosillo also agreed that he has been doing a good job as City Manager but said that the City’s budget should be balanced first before making any kind of pay raise to Carrillo.

Councilman Daniel Romero agreed that he has done a good job but said this should be done after the union negotiations that will start next month.

Mayor pro tem Moreno said that he was surprised by what Councilman Romero, Castro, and Hermosillo have said. He questioned them that if they agree that the City Manager has done a good job then “why are you going to vote against the raise?” he asked them. He said that the previous City Manager did not have leadership skills on the three years he was here and Carrillo has worked diligently in the six months he has worked for the people of Calexico.

Castro responded to Moreno that he said that Carrillo deserved the raise but not right now. He once again stated that they should wait six more months. “If we table this item tonight are you going to change your mind in one month?” Ouzan asked Castro.

City Manager Carrillo told the council that he has been offered a pay raise before but he has turned it down. He said to be flattered by their positive comments but he didn’t intend for this item to create division between the council members. He said that whatever action is taken he would work 100% for Calexico.

In the end the Council voted 3-2 against this pay raise having Castro, Romero, and Hermosillo voting against it. Ouzan and Moreno voted in favor and direction was given by the Mayor to bring it back in two months.