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How T.C. Broadnax's salary as Austin's city manager compares across the state

A man in a blue suit and red tie is surrounded by community members during the town hall meeting on March 25, 2024 at the Permitting and Development Center Events Center.
Patricia Lim/KUT News
T.C. Broadnax is making a higher salary that some of his peers in neighboring cities.

T.C. Broadnax began his job as Austin's new city manager on Monday. He is starting as the city's highest-paid employee at nearly half a million dollars. By comparison, his compensation is among the highest in the state, even over larger cities like Dallas and San Antonio.

KUT collected data from those cities and others to see what might explain the large difference in salaries. Here's what we found out.

Broadnax brings 30 years of experience in city management to Austin

Before Broadnax's hire, Austin had been without a permanent city manager for more than a year sinceSpencer Cronk was firedin the aftermath of the 2023 ice storm. Jesús Garza served in the interim. Garza made several controversial decisions in the role, including appointing a new department head for the Office of Police Oversight.

Broadnax comes to Austin after spending the last seven years in Dallas. Before that, he worked as a city manager in Tacoma, Washington, and was assistant city manager in San Antonio.

City leaders have said his experience is what singled him out as a top candidate for the job and is the main reason they are paying him such a large amount of money.

When city council members approved his hiring in April, his employment agreement guaranteed him a base salary of $470,000. He will also receive an array of fringe benefits, including a $5,000 per month housing allowance for six months to offset costs of a temporary residence, relocation and moving assistance; a cell phone stipend; and an "executive allowance."

The salary is about $50,000 more than he made as city manager in Dallas and about $82,000 more than Cronk madebefore he was fired in 2023.

Broadnax's salary is among the top of those paid to city managers across Texas, according to data collected by KUT.

He will be responsible for managing a $5.5 billion budget and more than 16,000 city employees, according to City of Austin data.

How much does Broadnax earn compared to others?

San Antonio

San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh was hired in March 2019 and makes about $374,000 a year. He also receives an additional $16,000 in incentives and allowances, such as a phone and car allowance. Altogether, he makes around $390,000, according to San Antonio city data.

But Walsh is now capped, meaning his salary does not have the potential to grow, said Luke Simons, a spokesperson for San Antonio.

In San Antonio, a city manager can serve a maximum of eight years, and the salary cannot exceed more than 10 times the annual salary of the lowest-paid full-time employee, the city charter states.

Walsh’s contract did not include a housing stipend, but he has worked for the City of San Antonio for almost 30 years and did not need to relocate.

While San Antonio has a larger population, Walsh manages a smaller $3.7 billion budget and around 13,700 employees.

Fort Worth

Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke was hired in June 2014. Today he earns $410,017 annually. He, like Walsh, receives a variety of additional benefits in the role, including a $7,200 annual car allowance.

Cooke was a county manager in North Carolina when he was hired to join Fort Worth. His starting salary was $315,000 and came with a $2,500 monthly housing allowance during his first six months. He also received relocation benefits, including up to six round trips from Fort Worth to Raleigh, North Carolina, moving company expenses and the relocation of two cars, according to his contract.

Fort Worth’s population is similar to Austin’s — at just under 1 million people. However, Cooke manages a budget less than half the size of Austin's at $2.5 billion and more than 7,000 employees, Fort Worth city data shows.

El Paso

El Paso is searching for a new city manager after Tommy Gonzalez left in June 2023.

Gonzalez, who was hired in June 2014, received an annual salary of more than $425,000 a year, with additional benefits including a vehicle allowance. He was fired in February 2023 and served through June of that year. Cary Westin continues to serve in the interim, according to the El Paso Times. The El Paso city manager oversees a budget of about $1 billion and manages nearly 7,000 employees, according to El Paso city data.


Following Broadnax’s departure, Dallas is searching for a new city manager. During his tenure in Dallas, Broadnax earned a base salary of $423,247, along with a $8,400 annual vehicle allowance. Kimberly Tolbert is serving in the interim. Dallas has a larger population than Austin at around 1.3 million people. The city manager is also in charge of managing nearly 13,000 employees and a $4.6 billion budget.

Houston is not included in this list because it does not have a council-manager form of government.

What Broadnax is being paid to address in Austin

Broadnax is making more than his peers in the same role. He is also making more than 10 times the lowest-paid Austin city employee and more than 5 times the average Austin city employee.

But, the city manager job is one of the most important and most powerful roles in Austin. Broadnax will have a lot to do in a day, like helping implement City Council policies, helping manage city-wide transportation projects, and meeting with city leaders to address needs around homelessness and affordable housing.

Broadnax will also have to manage a larger budget and city staff than the other cities included in KUT's comparison.

KUT asked several public officials what justified Broadnax’s salary.

Mayor Kirk Watson and several other council members, including those on the search committee, declined to comment. Attempts to reach Broadnax for comment were also unsuccessful.

Council Member Ryan Alter was the only one to comment. He said Broadnax brings a lot of experience and will have a big job to do, and that means providing the best compensation for a job that is difficult and demanding.

“We need top-tier talent and the way you do that is with a good wage,” Alter said.

While in Dallas, Broadnax did a lot of work around homelessness and growth and revitalization efforts in Dallas and Austin has similar projects in the works, including the light rail expansion known as Project Connect, the I-35 expansion, the renovation of the Austin Convention Center and the airport expansion. The city is also reforming its housing and policing policies, all of which Broadnax will be responsible for in the role.

Broadnax said Monday he would make emergency preparedness, affordable housing and homelessness his top priorities. He will also help the city build a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

“If he comes and helps us solve a lot of the problems that we have, and build on a lot of the successes that we have, then he will be worth every penny of our investment,” Alter said.

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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