Pharr paying new city manager $250,000 annually

After attempting to keep it a secret, Pharr has disclosed that it’s paying recently hired City Manager Alex Meade $250,000 annually, plus a $7,200 yearly car allowance.

That number is a jump from the $225,000 annual salary Pharr paid its previous city manager, Juan Guerra, who left for the same pay and position, but in Edinburg. For comparison, McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez makes $277,000 annually.

After a local freelance reporter requested Meade’s contract, Pharr sought the state’s opinion to keep the salary a secret.

“In an effort to keep that information private, the City of Pharr, relying on the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling in Boeing vs. Paxton, sought an Attorney General Opinion allowing withholding of the new city manager’s salary information,” the city said in a statement Wednesday.

The Boeing vs. Paxton case has become a bellwether for public entities trafficking in privacy. The city of McAllen relied on the same case in 2016 when seeking an attorney general opinion about whether to release how much money it paid singer Enrique Iglesias at its December 2015 holiday parade. McAllen has never publicly stated how much it paid Iglesias, but the city lost more than $750,000 on that 2015 holiday parade, and city officials admitted their mistake in agreeing to a private contract with Iglesias with taxpayer money.

Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez has lauded Meade as a highly qualified, educated and accomplished person for the job, as have many others in the community.

Meade, a Brownsville native and most recently the CEO of Mission’s economic development corporation, was recruited for the city manager position by various Rio Grande Valley cities, including his hometown, Edinburg and Mission.