City Commissioners Back Executive Raises, Offer Some Tax Relief

City Commissioners Back Executive Raises, Offer Some Tax Relief

In a move that is sure to be controversial, all five City Commissioners offered their full support to the executive raises doled out by City Manager Rick Fernandez.

Despite the fact that the City’s own pay study did not support the larger raises, not one City Commissioner questioned the increases that reached $50,000 for one position.

City Manager Rick Fernandez apologized for the way the raises were presented and explained that organizational efficiencies and increased responsibilities supported the raises.

The raises mean that one manager will make approximately $185,000 and five other managers will earn $175,000 per year. The raises are retroactive back to January.

On the tax front, the City Commissioners voted 3-2 to cut property taxes by approximately $1 million, which translates to a 2.3% decrease. The same vote included the elimination of the business tax in 2018. The business tax generates approximately $2 million on an annual basis.

The vote was not supported by Mayor Gillum and Commissioner Nancy Miller. Gillum and Miller supported the business tax cut, but opposed the property tax decrease.

The City Commission voted to raise property taxes by approximately 13% last year.

14 Responses to "City Commissioners Back Executive Raises, Offer Some Tax Relief"

  1. The vote by the city commission on july 13, 2016 to settle the federal lawsuit brought by former firefighter/engineer/EMT, and combat veteran Mark DeCarlo against the City of Tallahassee was stated in a local paper to be $ 1,300,000.

    The city and their expensive private law firm represented by Michael Spellman and Hetal Desia were total losers at the end of the federal trail in early march,2016 as shown in a previous Tallahassee Report article with a unanimous jury verdict awarding Mark DeCarlo
    $ 850,000.

    Now that the City on it’s own has awarded Mr. DeCarlo an additional $ 500,000. some of my questions are:

    What gross and possibly illegal misconduct on the part of fire and city officials was perpetrated against Mr. DeCarlo to warrant this additional pay out?

    Since the city and Spellman were total losers they were responsible for all state and federal court filings, the federal trial, and other expenses related to the lawsuit,how much will the city
    really have to pay out $ 2,250,000.or more?

    A comments from a previous Tallahassee Reports article stated that between december,2013 and early february,2016 the city paid Spellman and his “law firm” $ 238,000. From what’s been commented on previously the firm was working on the case for months before december,2013 and what about the weeks before the trial started in late february,2016, the two week trial, and anything going on since the trial. How much is the city in the end REALLY going to pay out for court costs and their defense?

    There was a newspaper article in a local newspaper
    a couple of months ago stating that Mr. DeCarlo and a relative has used abusive language toward
    city attorneys at a deposition after the city lost
    the trial, that a police report had been filed, and
    Mr. DeCarlo had threatened an FBI investigation. My question is just what gross misconduct did city officials and their law firm commit (that may never be known publicly due to the settlement)that resulted in the commission awarding Mr. DeCarlo the additional $ 500,000. over/above the $ 850,000.
    jury award?

    Tallahassee Reports, Preston Scott, and Will Dance
    should find out how much the city will,in the end, really have to pay for state court filings,federal court filings, the federal trial, hearings, motions, depositions and the entire bill for their total loser defense team of Michael Spellman and Hetal Dasai.

  2. After Adam Putnam is elected governor, maybe Rick Scott could be coaxed to move his office a couple hundred yards to the north? I would pay to get into City Hall to see him school our Boy Mayor in the arts of conservative leadership and fiscal prudence.

    Isn’t he working for free now? Heck, a $30K commish salary (or a $175K asst. city mgr. salary) would be a huge step up for him!

  3. We now have at least five city employees making more than the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. Does that sound wrong to anyone besides me? Who among them has a more complex, demanding and important job than the Chief Justice?

  4. I wonder if their is a single business in Tallahassee that gave any employees a $50,000 raise this year.

    Did the commissioners actually agree with the raises., or are they justifying their prior failure to object.

    Commissioners are elected to represent the citizens, not the city staff. When they forget that, well, the voters know what to do.

  5. The only way to prevent this from happening again is to vote each commissioner out and then have the new commission terminate the city manager.

  6. It’s is time to vote new people for commissioners. They have no backbone to stand up to what is right. Pay raises were wrong; plain and simple!

  7. Thanks to the three organizations who worked so hard to obtain tax relief. If not for their efforts, things could have been much worst.

  8. Time for neighborhoods to start to deannex from the City. The only way to formulate change is to reduce the amount money we send to City Hall. It is time to start to shrink the City and starve this beast.

  9. And now the Whistleblower whom won their case – $1.3 M. No forethought increases of ALL the recent payouts. Sure glad I live in the County!

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