Tallahassee Reports has determined that the personnel expenditures in the City of Tallahassee’s Mayor’s Office are significantly higher when compared to personnel expenses in other Mayor offices in Florida.
At last weeks budget hearing, Mayor Gillum took the time to address critics of the Mayor’s Office budget, which is approximately $475,000.
Gillum called a proposal to cut the budget by $100,000 a “lie” and said the citizens group proposal was irresponsible.
The Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Dustin Daniels, told the Tallahassee Democrat that “[t]he issues that some individuals around the community have brought up about our budget are red herrings; tactics seeking to politically charge the debate on the budget overall.”
He added “[w]e will continue to be innovative in the way our office operates.”
TR decided to compare the Mayor’s Office expenditures on personnel with six other Mayor offices in Florida to see if the questions over expenditures was a “red herring”, as Mayor Gillum has publicly claimed.
TR selected cities based on population and their form of government. All the cities selected operate under a Commission-City Manager form of government, just like the City of Tallahassee.
TR used public records and made phone calls to collect information to determine the total salaries (without benefits) for the Mayor, their aides, and any interns for each of the seven cities listed in the table below.
|City||Population||Aides, Paid Interns||Personnel Expenses, Including Mayor's Salary|
|Tallahassee||181,376||3 aides, 3 paid interns||$306,000|
|Fort Lauderdale||172,389||1 aide, no paid Interns||$105,000|
|Port St. Lucie||171,016||Mayor shares an aide, no paid interns.||$75,000|
|Pembroke Pines||154,750||1 aide, no paid interns||$113,000|
|Cape Coral||154,305||1 aide, no paid interns||$64,671|
|Gainesville||127,488||1 aide, no paid interns||$120,000|
|Lakeland||100,710||Mayor shares an aide, no paid interns||$41,000|
The above chart shows that the personnel expenses in Mayor Gillum’s office is approximately $306,000. The next closest expenditure listed in the chart is the $120,000 in the Mayor’s Office in the City of Gainesville.
The City of Lakeland, which reported an expense of approximately $41,000, had the lowest salary expense in a Mayor’s Office among the cities evaluated.
No city in the comparable group funded more than one full time aide for their Mayor except for the City of Tallahassee, which provides funding for three full time aides.
In some cities, Mayor’s shared aides with city commissioners.
Also, no Mayor’s office in the comparable group, other than Tallahassee, reported having a paid intern program. The City of Tallahassee funds $40,000 for the Mayor’s intern program.
Another finding of note, the City with the highest paid Mayor, the City of Tallahassee with a Mayor’s salary of approximately $75,000, also had the highest number of aides.
Given this information, was the request by the Citizens for Responsible Spending to cut $100,000 from the Mayor’s office a “red herring” or a political ploy?
Suffice it to say, a $100,000 cut in the Mayor’s Office budget, would leave Mayor Gillum’s office with $206,000 in salary expenses. This would be approximately 70% higher than the next highest comparable city, which is the Mayor’s Office in Gainesville with a salary expense of approximately $120,000.