Tallahassee Reports has learned that City Manager Rick Fernandez counted the salary from a position that had not been filled since 2014 as savings to justify the raises he gave to a select group of executive managers.
Last week, City Manager Rick Fernandez went before City Commissioners to explain the 5-digit raises that resulted in annual salaries reaching $175,000 for five individuals. The City Commissioners, after hearing the presentation, offered overwhelming support for the City Manager’s actions.
One of the arguments Fernandez used to sway the Commissioners was the amount of savings that resulted from the reorganization through the elimination of ten positions. Fernandez told the City Commissioners that the savings were approximately $900,000.
However, new findings raise serious questions about the savings.
Through a pubic record request, TR received information about the 10 positions and the associated salaries that the City Manager claimed were saved in the reorganization.
TR has verified that one of the names on the list, and referenced as an eliminated position with savings of approximately $92,000, was for a city employee that retired on July 31, 2014.
The employee, Greg Wilkerson, told TR:
“I was shocked to see that my name was included as part of the savings for the City’s reorganization. I retired from the city on 7/31/14. I continued working on a temporary basis until 10/31/15. At that time Anita Favors-Thompson was the City Manager. During the final few weeks of my temporary employment, I was limited to 20 hours per week, and my monthly income was approximately $3600/month, with no benefits.”
Before retiring, Mr. Wilkerson had worked with the City for eleven years.
This information shows that the position had not cost the City of Tallahassee $92,000 since 2014, yet was presented to the City Commission as reorganization savings for 2016.
In addition, TR has determined that two positions that the City Manager claimed were eliminated, actually resulted in two city employees being transferred to vacant positions and remaining on the General Fund payroll. Their salaries were presented as savings to City Commissioners.
These findings raise questions about the integrity of the presentation made by City Manager Fernandez. TR is still working with salary information and will soon have a detailed accounting of the City’s reported $900,000 in savings.