Two Assistant City Managers Pull Down $49K and $46K in Raises

Two Assistant City Managers Pull Down $49K and $46K in Raises

Tallahassee Reports has learned that since January of this year two assistant city managers, who were promoted under newly appointed City Manager Rick Fernandez, have recently received substantial pay raises.

Cynthia Barber, who was being paid $125,084 in January, is now making $174,999.99 as an assistant city manger. That is a $49,916 increase, which equals a 39.9% change. Ms. Barber is the assistant city manager over safety and neighborhoods.

Raoul Lavin, who was being paid $128,908 in January, is now making $174,999.99 as an assistant city manger. That is a $46,092 increase, which equals a 35.8% change. Mr. Lavin is the assistant city manager over financial management, accounting and procurement.

TR has also learned that the positions currently occupied by Mr. Lavin and Ms. Barber were not advertised.

This new information comes amid a contentious budget debate between the City of Tallahassee and several citizen groups that have questioned the City’s spending priorities.

59 Responses to "Two Assistant City Managers Pull Down $49K and $46K in Raises"

  1. As a city employee I feel a bit betrayed. We who work in the utilities field. We who work are fingers to the bone. We who work all hours of the night in treturouse weather, yet the closer we get to October the more we hear the same Ole song about not knowing if a raise is in the budget this year. 34% Are you kidding me, and I’m here worried if I’ll get a 2%. It’s rather sad.

  2. What about their total benefits/cost to the city, pension calculations, cars, allowances, insurance policies, country club memberships? Any deferred comp? A copy of their employment contracts are available with a public records demand.

  3. What did we expect from Fernandez? He’s a long-time protégé of Anita Favors Thompson, who mentored him well in her style of “management”, and these lessons are now being reinforced by the “leadership” of Mayor Andrew Gillum.

  4. There is not one employee working for the City of Tallahassee worth more than $100,000 per year. This is legalized stealing.

  5. I looked at what the city manager of Boston is making – $187,000; deputy city manager is making $98,000. This is Boston, a large city and Tallahassee is paying the city manager $228,000 and the assistant manager over $175,000. How can this city justify these huge salaries? I’m at a lost!

  6. FL Texan
    I agree that parts of Tallahassee are beautiful. Other sections – beautiful is an antonym. Your assertion of an unemployment “reduction” of .4 from 2015-16 is not anything to crow about. From Tallahassee Reports April 7, 2016: “The Federal report, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in March of this year, shows that Leon County ranked last among the twenty-three largest counties in Florida in job growth for the 12-month period ending in September 2015.”
    Obviously that report is nothing any Chamber of Commerce can be proud of.

    What is something to make noise over is our per capita violent crime rate:
    No. 1 in the state for two years straight – this is while the overall violent crime rate for Florida dropped during the same period. Government jobs alone cannot support this entire city, especially since Gov. Scott has cut many state jobs and FL state salaries are among the lowest in the nation. Tallahassee needs a vibrant and growing private sector, as any healthy city requires – our present tax structure is an obstruction to that. Tallahassee has potential, but this corrupt city government must be replaced before that can happen. We need less crime, less taxes, and more growing private sector jobs. With our present city government, we’re moving opposite on those points.

  7. While the amount of the raises are highly irregular, to be fair didn’t they both take on additional responsibilities? It is not like they were just given a raise for the heck of it. I’m talking about the reason for the raise, not the amount. I don’t have a problem with them getting a raise, if in fact, they did take on additional responsibilities. If they were not assigned additional tasks and responsibilities, then this is even worse.

    When the article states their jobs were not advertised, if the article is talking about their jobs were not advertised leading up to the windfall raises, it would be impractical to advertise a job when all you are doing is giving them additional responsibilities. At least based on my memory the Democrap a few months back led me to believe they were receiving additional responsibilities, not a new job – although my memory isn’t what it used to be.

    1. I agree with you here. At face value, the increases look very suspect. If there are additional responsibilities, that’s something different. If other positions were eliminated/consolidated, there’s a better argument. The information presented doesn’t say.

      When was the last time the City had an independent, publicly tracked Job Class and Compensation review? Let’s get comparability at ALL levels, and find out specifically who’s over/under compensated. FTE counts, the whole nine yards. Everyone can sit and grouse about these odds and ends; let’s get the heavy lifting done and look under all the rocks. Fix it once, but fix it all.

  8. I think this needs to be looked into. I think something shady is going on here. There’s too many employees out there busting their butt and they will never see raises like that. How did this get approved?

  9. The average Leon County income PER HOUSEHOLD is $50,000. Talk about reverse Robinhood, steal from the poor to give to the rich. City salaries should be capped at no more than 2 times the average Leon County household income. This ensures that all ships rise together. As Leon County resident prosper, so does the City employee salary.

    1. Along this line of reasoning:
      • Homesteaded property tax raises are capped at 3%/year (Save Our Homes).
      • Non-homesteaded and commercial properties’ tax raises are capped at 10%/year (Amendment 1 in 2008).
      • But apparently COT employee raises, which are paid from those taxes, have no yearly cap.

      If any candidates for city commission are advocating for the dismissal of Tricky Ricky and the open hiring of an outside replacement, I hope they make it known in their platform.

  10. This kind of wasteful, out-of-control spending must stop! You have an opportunity to replace Curtis Richardson with a fiscal conservative.

    I will work to make meaningful cuts to the budget, reign in reckless spending, roll back the 13% property tax, and vote against the proposed 3% property tax increase included in this year’s budget.

    You deserve better leadership, better representation, and a better City Commissioner.

    Steven Hougland, Ph.D.
    Asking For Your Vote For City Commission Seat 2
    Lower crime and lower taxes are my top priorities

    “Make Tallahassee a No. 1 All American City, Not No.1 in Crime”

    1. I believe all sitting commissioners should be voted out of office for their failure to take control of the city operations. However, your promises sound very much like the promises made by the current commissioners, including your opponent. What makes you any different?

  11. No one can tell me that these two people are worth that increase. Wow, when will this type of corruption stop?

  12. It is time for certain areas of the city to withdraw/de-annex from the City. I see no hope for this city.
    Talk about sticking it your eye.

  13. As I’ve said before and often, remember all of this corruption and greed when the smiling faces of the present mayor and city commissioners are again asking for your votes in the next elections. Those smiles are for themselves, not for the voters.

    1. The informed voters may vote against them but incumbents rely on the uninformed voters who vote based solely on race, gender or political affiliation. They have no knowledge of the issues, such as the budget or voting history or needs of their community, and don’t care.

  14. Sadly, Tallahassee is well on it’s way to becoming another Detroit. Unless enough voters can change our path, the working people with the means will move away (as I will do later this year). Before that, most private-sector businesses will have relocated to other cities, drastically downsized or closed their doors.
    With a steadily declining tax base, the city will slide into debt, devious and undeserved salaries being just one component of that debt.
    If he’s still in office, Mayor Gillum will probably ask the federal government to bail us out. A shameful outcome for a city that once had such potential, but when run long enough by corrupt liberal Democrats, all goverments eventually go bankrupt: cities, states, and nations.

    1. Mike, I was born and raised in Tallahassee Fl. Moved to Texas 16 years ago. When I return home I am in utter amazement at how nice the city has become and the manner in which it has grown. Austin, Tx cannot compare to Tallahassee’s beauty. Have you been to Detroit Mike? I can tell you that Tallahassee is nowhere near on it’s way to being a Detroit. From 2015 to 2016 the unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 to 4.2 in Tallahassee. Detroit unployment rate is 24.8 What private sector jobs do you speak of? It’s the capital of the state. That means large scale government jobs. Please have a seat sir you sound ridiculous.

  15. When a long time female city employee was fired so the budget could accommodate the hiring of an extended family member it was then that credibility spiraled downward. The hiring of this family member who was a former Leon County/Wakulla County worker then thrown out of Wakulla county, sold his Wakulla home at a loss, then the home buyer receiving a Leon County contract for the same amount of the loss. How did this one get missed?

    1. I have heard this referenced a few times. How is this person related to to someone in a hiring position at the city? Any proof? Who is it?

  16. Looks like Fernandez is putting Anita Favors to shame. It is unconscionable that assistants make that amount of money and is what the city manager should be getting paid; his assistants were getting paid maximum pay before their raises.

      1. Bush isn’t mayor, commissioner or city manager. Liberals are. And that won’t change. I plan to move first chance I get.

        1. And the Republicans running the state for 20 years are an example of fiscal responsibility? You would have to be living under a rock not to see the corruption. What the city is doing is small potatoes by comparison. And what makes you think these people are “liberals”? That is laughable. You obviously have never met one.

      2. No, Stanley we have not. GWB was not a conservative and, as was stated below, not in charge of a city. Apples and oranges. Look at cities across the country struggling (we are one of them). This is not so much about D’s and R’s but progressive/liberals who, nation-wide, have no clue how to run an economy. The examples are everywhere. Regardless of politics – every successful business and government is run by conservative economic principles. The local elected leaders have not one clue.

  17. Nothing will ever change is Tallahassee. It is a city filled with liberals and people looking for handouts who continue to vote for their own gravy train.

    1. Sorry, we liberals are working hard for a lot less money, and we’re not getting raises. If you think it’s all liberals at the top, you are sadly misinformed. This is the good ole boy system that has plagued this community for ages: cronyism over competence. Bubba reporting to Boss Hogg. The faces may have changed; the game’s the same.

      1. Sorry Philip, but you liberals keep voting for the same old liberals. Classic example of Einstein’s definition of insanity.

        1. How do you know who I voted for? Further, these are not liberals in any sense of the word. They are good ole boys, Dixiecrats in modern garb if you will, and no different than conservative Republicans, who are equally hypocritical when it comes to serving themselves first. Of course the alternative of kill-government tea party lunatics is not any better. If we had a mayor like Bernie Sanders was in Burlington, Vermont, that would meet my definition of a liberal. Whether you agree with him or not, he has not enriched himself at the public trough while serving the people. Show me one conservative with that kind of principled integrity. Rick Scott? Marco Rubio? Get real.

  18. Tricky Rick learned from the best, his prior boss. He just hasn’t perfected the art of disguising his moves. Yet. Lemmings. Perfect description.

  19. This is essentially on the backs of folks who pay for city services. I feel sorry for poor people who can’t afford air conditioning, so that these managers can get fat cat salaries.
    Every day I hear people say “whee I am glad to be out of thr6 city. My bills are so much lower.”

    This sort of management will run all residential people into the county.

  20. It is quite easy to do when you spend “other people’s money.” It is shameful but symptomatic of the leadership of the Andrew Gillum crowd, a product of having never had to meet a payroll out of his own pocket. And, don’t talk to me about the sanctimonious frugality of Maddox, who will likely rant and rave, but fall in line like the other lemmings on the Commission.

  21. And still the same people keep being elected as commissioners. WAKE UP Tallahassee voters… It’s our money they continue to waste and rules they continue to break with no recourse.

  22. They, and the City Manager, make more than the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and all of the judges in the entire state, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I assume the city jobs are more difficult or entail greater responsibility.
    The citizens should be deeply concerned by such elevated salaries for public servants. Also, the executive benefits are not even shown and push total compensation over $200,000.

    1. Voters, up to now, do not care. How do you think we got here? I will state it again – the Commission needs replacing so senior staff can be replaced. It is clear Fernandez has been planning all of his moves for a long time. Anyone who he did not feel would be loyal was moved out and fired by others or placed in a situation where they left. He created some positions out of thin air (I believe a violation) without advertising the jobs and placed his loyal minions into them at very high rates of pay. Welcome to “This Present Darkness.”

  23. The best part is each if these folks could literally stop coming to work forever & not one person (besides their spouse) would notice a thing

    1. If city employees were not fearful of losing their jobs for being whistleblowers, we could learn a lot about the unfair and unethical practices that go on in our City Government. The schmoozers get the benefits. Thank God there’s a God and He sees it all!!! ?????

  24. Well, the city could have simply refunded the fee overages from the utilities business they run, but this makes for a lot more intrigue.

    Many of us in the county who are forced to use COT utilities spend 35-50% more per kilowatt/hour as our next-door neighbors who use Talquin. Every time the power goes out I call the city to report the outage… their answer, “you’re on a Talquin service line, there’s nothing we can do to help you…” My reply, “Can I change providers?” “No, that’s not possible.” they say. I’ve had this conversation for 18 years now. (I call Talquin after hanging up and they respond with great customer service even though I don’t pay them.)

    If they return the money they over charge us it’s an admission that they are price gouging. This keeps the money from having to be reimbursed to their captive audience. I am afraid that if we think this is the only instances of this happening in the city we’d be deluding ourselves.

  25. Shameful example of a lack of fiscal responsibility. How can the COT and its manager justify pay increases of 35 to 39% and not advertising either position.
    These huge pay increases also adds up to a dramatic amount of future pension payments to these two individuals.

    1. Truly awful decision Howard. It is hard to believe that someone cannot live well in Tallahassee, working in government with all the benefits, and NO STRESS of being a business person – making 125k a year. Its ridiculous. Most of these city and county executives are overpaid, but the problem is they are overpaid around the state and country. They use the leverage of another municipality overpaying their employees to get raises.

      These people would NEVER survive in the private sector on their own for more than a few years without some sort of government-contract to parachute into . City executives are some of the sorriest, laziest, inside the box employees out there today.

      I’m sorry if that offends some of you but there is a vast difference between the private sector and working for government.

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