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Daily Archives: May 13, 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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