Attached below is an article from Today's Democrat. As a career State of
Florida employee, I recognize the value of paying real money to valued
employees even if the state does not. I have no doubt that Mr. Goad and the
others work hard for their money. Even so, I have to say that it looks bad when
the City of Tallahassee is giving huge raises, the highest being $49,000 a
year, to high level city employees at the same time it is cutting $1.3 Million
from StarMetro's budget after raising property taxes by 13 percent last year.
As a taxpayer, it almost appears as if I am paying more to get fewer services
while city fat cats continue to get richer.
Owen B. McCaul
1711 Monticello Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32303
Home: (850) 385-8702
Work: (850) 606-6127
Cell: (850) 556-3279
Most of the Tallahassee city officials affected by a January reorganization
received 5-figure pay raises.
The 16 employees, all of whom are upper-level directors and assistant city
managers, received nearly $370,000 in combined raises. Salaries increased by an
average of 19 percent and three top officials saw their pay increase by more
than a third, city records show.
The biggest raise went to Deputy City Manager Reese Goad, whose $185,000 salary
is $49,000 larger than he was making previously. Cynthia Barber, assistant city
manager of Community Engagement and Public Safety, got a $47,000 increase.
Assistant City Manager of Administration & Personnel Services Raoul Lavin's
$175,000 yearly wage is about $43,500 more than his old salary.
City Manager Rick Fernandez stands by the raises, saying there's "no question"
all of the officials have taken on "higher-level" responsibilities as a result
of the reorganization, in which he eliminated 10 management positions and three
"Everyone that’s there assumed additional responsibilities, significant in most
cases," he said.
Even with the raises, the city said it is still saving about $700,000 in salary
costs because the eliminated positions resulted in more than $1 million in
Goad, Fernandez said, previously served as a department head in utilities,
handling rate studies, billing, collections and meter readings among other
duties. Now he heads the city's largest area, Citizens Services, which includes
all utilities, StarMetro and community relations. Fernandez said he's also
added the Tallahassee International Airport to Goad's responsibilities.
In seven months, Barber went from heading the city's Environmental Policy and
Energy Resources department to an assistant city manager in charge of the
city's second largest area. She oversees the Tallahassee Police and Fire
departments, as well as Parks and Recreation and the Consolidated Dispatch
During the reorganization, Lavin was promoted from director to assistant city
manager in charge of financial management, accounting and procurement. His area
also absorbed duties from the Economic and Community Development department,
which was dropped during the reorganization.
The salaries started off as recommendations from the city's Human Resources and
Workforce Development department, which conducted a market rate study ordered
by Fernandez. City staff studied government and utility salaries in cities like
West Palm Beach, Gainesville and Lakeland, among others. They also studied
salaries at public utilities.
Seven of the recommended salaries came in within range and only Goad's salary
came in below comparable deputy city manager salaries. Three of the positions
used internal data only.
Four salaries exceeded the salary range, including Lavin's and the new $175,000
salary for Wayne Tedder, assistant city manager of Development Services and
Fernandez said he diligently considered the salaries, approving only a few at a
time. Ultimately, he accepted them all. He said he accepted those salaries that
were higher than market range "because those particular jobs in our
organization provide a higher level of service and responsibility."
The salaries will be paid out retroactively to the official start of the
reorganization, which was Jan. 12.
Fernandez said it's fair to question the amount of the raises.
"That's why I took so long in doing it," he said. "I wanted to be fair. I
didn't want to mistreat these folks that I was asking them to be so much more,
but I wanted them to be market equivalent."