Saturday,
April 19

 
BUSINESS

Gomez, political face of the Spurs, eyes Brooks

Illustration by Jeremiah TeutschIn the AT&T Center, Manu, Tim & Co. are the San Antonio Spurs. But at City Hall and the Bexar County Courthouse, it's Leo Gomez.

The 47-year-old Gomez is vice president of public and government affairs for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the go-to guy when the organization wants to advance or protect its interests at the City, County, or state. The McAllen native, often smiling and just as often unreadable, probably turns up at more campaign fundraisers and takes more one-on-one meetings with pols than most lobbyists.

Just try to imagine the fight for public dollars for the East Side arena or for pro soccer at Alamo Stadium without Leo Gomez.

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Dining with Doyle: the disappearing paper trail

Illustration by Jeremiah TeutschCPS Energy is leaving ratepayers in the dark about who is wining and dining CEO Doyle Beneby and other top executives. The public utility recently dropped its internal ethics policy requiring employees to report when someone doing business, or seeking to do business with the utility, buys employees a meal valued at more than $50.

The change in policy means entities doing business with the utility, including those seeking multi-million-dollar contracts, can treat executives to expensive meals and no one will ever know. Prior to the policy change, those meals were reported as gifts on disclosure forms that are available to the public.

“The senior leadership team felt that the chances that people would be unduly influenced by meals were slim,” CPS spokesperson Lisa Lewis said.

The order to drop the requirement came from the top man himself – CEO Doyle Beneby – who also had to report meals he received under the old policy. An email sent last November from the utility's ethics officer said, "Mr. Beneby requested the meal change."

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SAWS' big ask

The water bill is coming due. The San Antonio Water System plans to ask the City Council in December to OK a set of annual rate hikes that would stretch out over five years, with the bulk of additional revenue going for new water supplies.

That's a big ask that's bound to inspire Council members to ask pointed questions. District 10's Carlton Soules probably won't be completely on his own on this one. (SAWS trustees get first shot at the proposal, but we suspect they'll fall in behind management.)

Best to make peace now with the idea of substantially higher bills in the not-too-distant future. They're coming. SAWS is catching up on efforts to break San Antonio's overwhelming dependence on the Edwards Aquifer, and the spending that requires is beginning in earnest.

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Medina wants to review CPS Energy bonuses

San Antonio City Councilman Cris Medina is taking on CPS Energy. Medina says he's been hearing complaints from ratepayers outraged by the $410,000 bonus given to CPS Energy's CEO Doyle Beneby on Monday for meeting performance goals.

“The sentiments that I've gotten from my community, and from my perspective, is they are excessive,” Medina said. "And at what point does it stop, or at what point do we continue to pay out?"

The first-term District 7 councilman says he believes Beneby is doing a great job overall running the public utility, but he wants Council to step in and get answers about nearly $17 Million in incentive pay distributed this year. In May the utility gave $16 Million in bonuses to employees, with some top executives receiving six-figure bonus checks.

“CPS is a public utility and they report to the council. I think it's important we have a say in the discussion," Medina said.

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Backchannel: Read CPS Energy CEO contract

There's been a lot of reaction to CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby's $410,000 bonus. Trustees who oversee the public utility say he earned it by reaching certain goals they outlined in his contract. Now you can read his contract, including provisions outlining his incentives, for yourself by clicking here.

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