Has the average salary for City of Tallahassee general fund employees increased by 20% since 2008?
Former Mayor Penny Herman, a member of the budget group Citizens for Responsible Spending (CRS), recently spoke at the City Commission’s budget workshop and asked elected officials to roll back the 13% property tax increase adopted last year.
One of the issues she addressed in support of the roll back request was a 20% increase in City employee salaries over the last 8 years. Ms. Herman said this growth was unsustainable and was unfair when compared to the growth in Leon County teacher and state employee salaries over the same period.
Ms. Herman previously spoke about this issue on WFSU’s public affairs program, Perspectives.
TR decided to take a detailed look at the issue and to expand on the comparison.
Listed below is a table of average salaries for City of Tallahassee general fund employees, Leon County teachers, state employees in Leon County, and the complete Leon County workforce. The table covers the period from 2008 to 2015 and shows the wage change in terms of dollars and percentage growth.
The information below does not include the pay raises that City of Tallahassee employees received in 2016 as part of the budget which included a 13% property tax increase.
The table shows the City of Tallahassee general fund employees have experienced the largest increase in average salaries during this time period with growth of 22.18%.. This translates into a gain of $10,313. Average city employee salaries have increased from $46,487 in 2008 to $56,800 in 2015. These average salary figure were calculated from City of Tallahassee budget documents using full-time equivalent positions and salary information.
Coming in second, with growth of 7.30%, were all workers in Leon County. The average wage for workers in Leon County increased from $38,526 in 2008 to $41,340 in 2015 for a 7.3% growth rate. This information was collected from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, Labor Market Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages.
Third placed belonged to state workers in Leon County. The average salary increased from $44,282 to $45,660 for a 3.11% increase over the seven year period. This information was also collected from the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, Labor Market Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages.
The lowest wage growth in the comparison belonged to Leon County teachers. Average teachers salaries in Leon county, during the time period from 2008 to 2015, actually decreased by $1,053. The source of this information was the Florida Department of Education. We wrote a report about teacher salaries earlier this year. The report can be viewed here.
WAGE GAP INCREASES
From 2008 to 2015, the wage gap between the average salary of the City of Tallahassee employees and other segments of our community has grown.
For example, in 2008 the average City of Tallahassee employee salary was approximately $2,500 higher than the average salary of state employees and Leon County teachers. In 2015, that difference grew to $11,000 for state employees and $13,500 for Leon County teachers.
Also, in 2008 , the average City of Tallahassee employee salary was approximately $8,000 higher than the average salary of all workers in Leon County. In 2015, this gap grew to $15,500.
During the 2017 budget process, TR will continue to investigate City of Tallahassee salaries and how they compare locally and to other local governments.