Jacksonville employee salaries

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Jacksonville employee salaries are public records under the Florida Sunshine Law.

Gov. Rick Scott's office launched a website on March 17, 2011 that provides access to frequently requested public records and information, including a state employee salary database and a list of state pension benefits that exceed $100,000.[1]

The website, FloridaHasARightToKnow.com, also includes contract records, information on rule-making status and procedures and links to other open government resources.[2]

Salaries

2011

In 2011, the City of Jacksonville had 15 employees who earned over $150,000 a year.[3]

  • There were 2,962 employees listed in the database.
  • The highest paid employee was Medical Examiner Margarita Arruza, with a salary of $208,119.00.
  • The lowest paid employee was grounds maintenance worker Ruston Rogers, with a salary of $16,924.80.
  • The Mayor of Jacksonville, John Peyton, earned $173,940.96 a year.
Name Employer Annual salary
Arruza, Margarita Jacksonville, City of $208,119.00
Mullaney, Richard Jacksonville, City of $205,009.80
Laquidara, Cindy Jacksonville, City of $204,510.00
Rao, Valerie Jacksonville, City of $184,813.08
Giles, Jesse Jacksonville, City of $183,220.81
Johnson, Robert Jacksonville, City of $181,360.53
Rohan, Steven Jacksonville, City of $181,050.00
Sherman, Kirk Jacksonville, City of $180,000.00
Mosley, Alan Jacksonville, City of $178,508.16
Peyton, John Jacksonville, City of $173,940.96
Hollingsworth, Michael Jacksonville, City of $162,174.96
Miller, George Jacksonville, City of $159,908.44
Maltz, Howard Jacksonville, City of $159,120.00
Chastain, Karen Jacksonville, City of $158,610.00
Barton, Ronald Jacksonville, City of $155,173.80
Nicolaescu, Aurelian Jacksonville, City of $154,626.44

2010

In early 2012, Jacksonville's The Florida Times-Union requested public salary data from more than 90 North Florida government agencies for 2010 to 2011.[4] In 2010, the City of Jacksonville had 10 employees who earned over $100,000 a year:[5]

Name Year Employer Base pay Total pay
Rao, Valerie 2010 Jacksonville, City of $190,172.64 $190,172.64
Giles, Jesse 2010 Jacksonville, City of $179,556.39 $179,556.39
Rohan, Steven 2010 Jacksonville, City of $177,429.00 $177,429.00
Sherman, Kirk 2010 Jacksonville, City of $176,400.00 $176,400.00
Chastain, Karen 2010 Jacksonville, City of $165,237.76 $165,237.76
Maltz, Howard 2010 Jacksonville, City of $160,837.64 $160,837.64
Belton, Clarence 2010 Jacksonville, City of $156,999.96 $156,999.96
Miller, George 2010 Jacksonville, City of $156,710.28 $156,710.28
Barton, Ronald 2010 Jacksonville, City of $152,070.32 $152,070.32
Nicolaescu, Aurelian 2010 Jacksonville, City of $151,533.91 $151,533.91

2009

Between August 2008 and August 2009, about 7 percent (586 employees) of city employees received a raise of at least 10 percent. Most of those receiving the raises were police officers or firefighters. Many of the city's 8,100 employees received a 2 percent raise, but 1,100 did not receive a raise.[6]

Benefits

City of Jacksonville employees are given the following benefits:[7]

  • Health insurance
  • Life
  • Dental and vision
  • Flexible spending account
  • Retirement plans

Most employees, with some exceptions, are required to pay 8 percent of their base salaries towards their retirement plans.[8]

Vehicle use

As of 2008, 180 employees had either a take-home vehicle, car allowance or motor pool vehicle. At the time, the monthly car allowance average was about $300.[9]

Cell phone use

As of a 2009 city cell phone audit, the city paid for 1,600 cell phones, of which 2/3 came from one provider and the rest from multiple providers. The report outlined lack of oversight of cell phone costs and found:[10]

  • Some phones incurred roaming charges for being used outside of the state of Florida
  • Directory Assistance was used by some phones at a rate of $1.25 or $1.79 per call
  • Phones were used for text messaging outside the city plan, sometimes costing the city $300 a month
  • 56 cell phone plans went unused for 7 consecutive months and cost the city $10,000

In 2010, city employees signed a cell phone policy that made them liable for extra charges and 180 phones have since been shut off. These and other changes led to a savings of $180,000, according to the city manager of information technology.[11]

Salary records project

In 2011, Sunshine Review chose 152 local governments as the focus of research on public employee salaries. The editors of Sunshine Review selected eight states with relevant political contexts (listed alphabetically):

1. California
2. Florida
3. Illinois
4. Michigan
5. New Jersey
6. Pennsylvania
7. Texas
8. Wisconsin

Within these states, the editors of Sunshine Review focused on the most populous cities, counties and school districts, as well as the emergency services entities within these governments. The purpose of this selection method was to develop articles on governments affecting the most citizens.

The salary information garnered from these states were a combination of existing online resources and state Freedom of Information Act requests sent out to the governments.

Importance of public employee pay disclosure

In July 2010, The Los Angeles Times uncovered that officials in Bell, California were making remarkably high salaries.[12] Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo was earning a yearly $787,637. It was later uncovered that Rizzo's total compensation after taking benefits into account topped $1.5 million a year.[13]

For comparison:[12]

  • Manhattan Beach, with about 7,000 fewer people than Bell, paid its most recent city manager $257,484 a year.
  • Long Beach, with a population close to 500,000, paid its city manager $235,000 annually.
  • Los Angeles County paid its chief executive, William T. Fujioka, $338,458.

Corruption solution

After this report was released, governments began to proactively disclose salary information of their employees. Before the end of the summer of 2010, more than a dozen cities in Orange County, for example, posted salary information on the front pages of their websites.[14]

The cost of transparency websites maintaining such information ranges from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. These websites also save money, and this often is not taken into account when measuring costs.

Citizens upset about the breach of trust and armed with information formed a group called the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, which pushed for an independent audit of city salaries and contracts.[15]

Citizens, empowered with information, are key to keeping government free from corruption and efficient. A study published by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia revealed that the city of Philadelphia has a problem with the efficiency and costs of public employee pensions.[16] The amount that Philadelphia pays to pension recipients limits the city’s ability to use its budget effectively.

The report revealed that there were more individuals receiving pension benefits—33,907 claimants in 2006—than workers in the city—28,701.[16] The authors of the study recommend three steps towards addressing the problem of high costs in pensions.[16] First, improve data collection so that decision-making in terms of pension policies is more informed. Second, promote transparency for better accountability to citizens. Third, reduce costs and use the savings for developing Philadelphia.

Resistance to public employee salary data as public records

The idea of making public employee salaries is relatively new. In 2008, several local government employee associations and unions protested the posting of state employee salaries by newspaper The Sacramento Bee.[17][18] At the time, it was seen as a safety risk and invasion of privacy.

Sunshine Review aims in posting salary information

Publicly posted salaries often leave out important information. Salary schedules can be published as ranges, not as specific take-home compensation, and high-level, highly-paid positions are often not disclosed proactively.[14][13] Additionally, salaries leave out compensation received through health and retirement benefits, as well as benefits such as commuter allowances and cell phone reimbursements. This project aimed to close the gap and provide a more accurate picture of public employee salaries for the sake of public education and transparency.

See also

External links


References