City Commission Asked to Approve $228,000 Salary for New City Manager

City Commission Asked to Approve $228,000 Salary for New City Manager

If critics of City Manager Anita Favors Thompson’s $229,000 salary thought a new City Manager would make less, they were wrong.

The City Commission is scheduled to vote on the new contract for recently appointed City Manager Rick Fernandez at their next meeting on December 9th, 2015.  The recommended salary is $228,000.

At the November 10th Commission meeting, the City Commission unanimously voted to appoint Mr. Ricardo Fernandez as the City Manager. Mr. Fernandez had most recently served as the Assistant City Manager over the Service area of City Utility Services. The City Commission further directed Human Resources and the City Attorney’s Office to negotiate a compensation package for City Commission for approval.

View Rick Fernandez full bio here.

Mr. Fernandez’s current salary is $177, 798.92. He has served the City of Tallahassee for 27 years, including ten years as City Auditor and seventeen years as Assistant City Manager. The City Attorney’s Office negotiated a contract for employment with Mr. Fernandez which can be viewed here.

The proposed contract provides for an annual salary of $228,000, severance pay of 20 weeks, use of a City automobile during the term of the contract and a City contribution to the Mr. Fernandez’s IRS 457 retirement account in the maximum amount permitted annually for deferral.

City Attorney Lew Shelley is responsible for the agenda item and recommends that the City vote for ratification of the employment contract. The agenda states; “In light of the substantial experience which Mr. Fernandez brings to this position, the compensation package as reflected in the proposed agreement is recommended.”

Tallahassee Reports research shows that the current City Manager in Gainesville makes $174,956.

In Fort Lauderdale, the current City Manager Lee Feldman, makes $226,280.

However, Feldman replaced a City Manager in 2011 that was making $230,000. His starting salary in 2011 was approximately $199,000.

12 Responses to "City Commission Asked to Approve $228,000 Salary for New City Manager"

  1. I believe this salary package is commensurate with Mr. Fernandez’s background, experience, and job performance. Paying less for less could cost us more…much more – so congratulations – Mr. Fernandez! Please keep up the good work and serve us well!

  2. This is another example of an incomplete slanted article. Comparing the City Manager in Tallahassee to the City Manager in Gainesville is an apples to bananas comparison. While both cities operate utilities, the City Manager in Gainesville has no authority over the utilities. The utilitieis are managed by a separate official that reports to the City Commission there. Steve why dont you check out the salary for GRU’s General Manager.

    1. First, you make a good point about the utility structure in Gainesville of which I am aware and have advocated here. I think it would be beneficial and more transparent for the head of the utility to report directly to the city commission.

      Second, I disagree with your apples to bananas critique. First, Mr. Fernandez has absolutely no experience in running the day to day operations of an electric utility. His background is in city auditing and administration. Have you seen the experience of the GRU manager? In my view salary is not only a function of authority but of experience.

      Third, with regards to your incomplete and slanted charge, I would remind you that I provided the salaries of two City Managers from cities that are somewhat comparable to Tallahassee. One was close to the salary of Fernandez and one was not. That is two more than any other local media provided.

      Thanks for your well thought out comment. It motivated me to review the article and formulate a response.

  3. Who makes that kind of money in the private sector? Who are the people running this show? If they can’t use sound fiscal judgement in the area of salaries, why are we trusting them with running the City? Who’s the servant and who’s the master here?

  4. Many years ago in a faraway land, local governments served the citizens in their communities free of charge and did not work in fancy palaces while they did it. I know, it is just a fairy tale. When in Mexico Beach recently, I noticed there city hall and sherff’s dept was in a bare bones metal building and realized that they had it right. A city government should really just be taking care of the basic needs of the populace. Ours has really gotten out of hand.

  5. Why does a new city manager merit the same salary as a former city manager who has proven her ability for so many years? Favors salary was enhanced over the years as she proved her competence in the job.

    1. A serious mistake was made in paying Favors the exorbitant salary that she had. No one in a town of this size is worth that much to be city manager. At one point, I think I read that she was making more than the mayor of New York City.

      1. I am correct. The mayor of New York City makes 225,000.Our city government has lost its collective minds. As an aside, Rick Fernandez’s next 3 years to reach his 30 years of service are what his retirement will be based upon. The city uses the average of the highest 3 years of salary. Think he’s going to stay after that? Better start looking for a new city manager now.

        1. That’s because the City of Tallahassee robs the citizen of the town for everything. such as: skyrocket utilities, sewer, and common water. And that’s why graduates can’t get the salary they deserve, because of the greed in top management.

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