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Monthly Archives: May 2011

New law: officials can reduce salaries

Elected officials pay: ‘Big elephant in the room’

Clerk of Courts Al Fraser – $95,328
Property Appraiser Tim Sweat – $95,328
Tax Collector Gene Harvey – $95,328
Elections Supervisor Nita Crawford – $78,468
Sheriff Joey Dobson – $103,924*
School Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson – $95,328
County Judge Joey Williams – $134,280 **
County commissioners – $29,440
School board members – $25,231

* Sheriff Dobson, a “double dipper,” draws an additional $72,558 annually in retirement benefits for a total compensation of $176,482, plus health insurance and other benefits. Shortly after he became eligible for the twin payments, the law was changed to prohibit it for future enrollees, both elected and otherwise, under the state’s retirement system.
** Judges are not included in the new statute authorizing voluntary salary reductions.

Amid all the back and forth in recent weeks about how much the county should contribute to its retiree health plans and, on the state level in recent months, how much state employees should participate in retirement plans, no one speaks about the “big elephant in the room.”

That would be the salaries of elected constitutional officers.

Since 1973, they have been set by the state in a cozy system that officially was enacted to “standardize” pay throughout Florida based on a county’s population.

Behind the scenes, “associations” of elected officials — lobbyists, really — worked closely with legislative staffs to make sure their clients were well taken care of.

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Summer’s Way Too Short Story Contest

The Baker County Press is inviting young writers to submit entries for its first “Summer’s Way Too Short Story Contest.”

One winning short story will be selected by the newspaper’s staff from each school level — elementary, middle and high school — for publication in The Press. The author of the best overall story will also win a $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

Short stories may be fiction or nonfiction, but no more than 500 words, and writers must be students residing in Baker County, regardless of whether they attend home school, public or private school. The stories will be judged based on common story-telling pillars like plot, characters, setting and flow, but also grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Entries can be hand delivered to The Press office, 104 S. 5th St. in Macclenny, mailed to P.O. Box 598, Macclenny, FL 32063 or e-mailed to reporter@bakercountypress.com.

Leon Clardy, 61, was a machinist

Leon Joseph Clardy, 61, of Taylor died May 7, 2011 at his residence with family by his side. He was born in Lake City, FL on November 24, 1949 to Forrest Leon Clardy and Lovey Crawford Clardy, and was a resident of Baker County for 23 years after moving from Jacksonville.

Mr. Clardy was an industrial machinist for many years at Millwright Union Local # 2411 in Jacksonville. Leon had a wonderful sense of humor, and enjoyed socializing, telling stories, and visiting family and friends. He also enjoyed tinkering with old cars, bartering, trading and fishing.

He was preceded in death by father Forrest Leon Clardy; son Sean Joseph Clardy.

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Oveda Harvey, 79, of Middleburg

Oveda Harvey Dugger, 79, of Middleburg died Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at Orange Park Medical Center following an extended illness. She was born in Sanderson and lived in Middleburg for the past 53 years after moving there from Jacksonville. She worked as a computer operator with NAPA Auto Parts distribution center in Jacksonville for 39 years.

Mrs. Dugger attended Middleburg United Methohdist Church and was the co-captain of the 1949 Sanderson High School girls’ state basketball championship team. She was preceded in death by parents Earlis Harvey and Eva Davis Harvey; husband Robert E. Dugger.

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