Budget Hawks Seek Review of County Raises

Budget Hawks Seek Review of County Raises

Recent raises for the Leon County Administrator and Leon County Attorney are being questioned by Budget Hawks.

Budget Hawks is a fiscally conservative group that produces fact based analysis for decision making on local spending and tax issues for the public and local government leaders.

In a letter to the Leon County Commission, the group asks that officials review their decision to grant the raises.

The letter said, “At a minimum, we would ask that you agenda a more in depth discussion of your decision to grant these large raises.”

The raises result in the salary of Vince Long, the county administrator since 2011, increasing from $238,085 to $261,894.

The salary of Herb Thiele, who has served as county attorney since 1990, would go from$286,885, to $315,573.

The letter from the Budget Hawks shows comparisons with other Florida counties that indicate the raises for Leon County officials are higher than officials that work in larger counties with larger staffs.

For example:

County Manager                  County Attorney
$261,894                                $315,573

County Administrator       County Attorney
$273,183                                  $224,559

County Manager                  County Attorney
$216,240                                 $216,240

County Manager                  County Attorney
$260,000                                $220,000

In addition, the Budget Hawks write:

One of the best examples that our salary range for the county attorney is too high is the Miami Dade county attorney. According to the Miami Dade human resource department, their county attorney is paid $329,680 plus benefits of $21,820. He/She oversees 71 attorneys. Miami-Dade has a population of 2,662,874. Leon County attorney is paid $315,573 plus benefits of $124,886 for managing 5 attorneys in a county of 279,000.

Based on information provided by Leon County, the Budget Hawks also calculated the total benefit package for the County Administrator and the County Attorney as shown below.

County Administrator

Salary                                                 $261,894
Medical Insurance                                16,241
Life Insurance                                         3,120
Disability  Insurance                                969
Florida Retirement System               59,476
Deferred Comp                                     18,332
Cell Phone                                               1,200
Auto Allowance                                      7,200
Total Benefits                                   $106,538

Total Package                           $368,432


County Attorney      

Salary                                                  $315,573
Medical Insurance                                16,241
Life Insurance                                         3,120
Disability  Insurance                             3,369
Florida Retirement System                71,669
Deferred Comp                                     22,090
Cell Phone                                                1,200
Auto Allowance                                       7,200
Total Benefits                                     $124,886

Total Package                            $440,460

Last week the Leon County Commission voted unanimously to approve the raises.Commissioner Bryan Desloge praised the two men for their work.

“These guys lead in every aspect of the word. I think we’re one of the better run counties, I’ll brag for a second. I have no hesitation authorizing the raise that we’ve put in place. I think frankly, I thank them for their service,” he said.

Commission Chairman John Dailey said, “They have both done a phenomenal job. They are both recognized as being some of the best in their field. I wholeheartedly support them and am very appreciative of a job well done.”

19 Responses to "Budget Hawks Seek Review of County Raises"

  1. Although I’ve followed the well-documented COT corruption over my 10 years here, (and I’m SO glad the FBI has also followed it), I was not as aware of Leon County corruption, but as this salary debacle has unfolded, seems the County is as corrupt as the City.

    And tying to my comment on the “Consolidation Study” – What makes anyone with half a brain think that combining two corrupt-governments-with-corrupt-officials will miraculously produce some “New” and “Ethical” government? Does combining two rotten foods produce something appetizing and healthy?

  2. You mean it doesn’t make sense that our County Atty., supervising FIVE attorneys earns the same as the Miami-Dade one who supervises SEVENTY-ONE?!? Ha!! They think we are all so dumb.

  3. So this is what they did with the increase in our property taxes this year. Just wait until the City and County consolidate and we will have 2 senior staff level attorneys and 2 county managers to pay plus a full time mayor and 12 commissioners. We know neither Long nor Fernandez will give up their positions. Their friends on the commission will simply give both of them a job making gobs of money plus another hefty pay raise for being over so many more people. When I grow up I want to be a corrupt “leader” in this City/County. It pays better than a regular criminal and has benefits.

  4. Don’t lose focus, none of the raises are possible without the approval of the elected county commissioners. Everyone reading this who believes it’s appropriate for a county employee to make $440,000 a year should vote to re elect their county commissioner.

  5. These salaries are absurd considering the size of this county. These two people are expendable. I’m sure we could find two better, more proficient people on a national search for a lot less of tax payer money. I’m disappointed in the county commission to vote for pay raises. I will be voting for new elected.

  6. The Governor of the third most populous state doesn’t even make that much. Herb and Vince do not need to make that kind of money in a county where nothing is going on. I doubt that those two would be hired away from Leon County anytime soon. At the salaries that they make, they do not need a raise!

    1. Actually, we pay Gov. Scott $1/month.
      (For accounting purposes.)
      I think once he’s term-limited he should run for our Mayor. We could even offer to triple his salary to $3/month.

  7. Anyone remember the small city of Bell, California? The straw that broke the camel’s back & sent the City Manager & 5 council members to prison for 4-12 years was the outrageous salaries the city manager & 5 council members gave themselves through a series of raises. They too used city workers & materials for their own property repairs & maintenance, enjoyed pretty good lifestyles at the taxpayers expense. Quiet the little club they had going on until the taxpayers finally said “enough”.
    Investigations ensued and were they surprised they were charged and tried and sentenced to prison! Sounds familiar.
    After the City Manager was sentenced to 12 years in prison, LA County DA Jackie Lacey had this to say, “His greed and total disregard for the hard-working people of Bell have lasting consequences. Stealing public funds is a serious crime that destroys the public trust. We are sending a clear message that we are doing our part to restore confidence in government by vigorously prosecuting any public official who misuses his or her authority to steal from their constituents.”
    By the way, the council members were sentenced to 4 years in prison. Seems in the end they were able to effectively argue they were not aware of everything the City Manager was up to so their culpability was less. Hmmmmm….

  8. These two referenced pay packages are only the tip of the iceberg. Look at other county pay packages that are totally ridiculous. I worked for the county for 30+ years and watched this situation go out of control during the last 15 years.

  9. Next look into Rocky Hanna appointing 5 Associate Superintendents without posting a single job or interview! One of the new associate superintendents played a critical role in clearing Rocky of wrongdoing when he dated a teacher he supervised, when they stopped dating he had her transferred with a monetary settlement. Paybacks are alive and well in Leon Schools!

  10. Looks like tallahassee politicians learned how to screw the citizens just like Washington politicians do. County city and federal governments living large on our money. Get rid of all of them and their extra perks

  11. Well, if we’re going to pay local government employees like they’re CEO’s…I guess we can forget about any property tax relief….ever

    It’s bad enough to pay an attorney over $300k of taxpayer money for a county the size of Leon…but to put almost $100k in his retirement account every year also?? I think too many people have been scratching each others backs a little too long here.

    I don’t care how good of a job you’ve done, NO ONE PERSON SHOULD COST THIS LOCAL GOVERNMENT $440K A YEAR.

  12. So next time you see Vince Long riding in that ridiculous looking teenage dream of a Jeep Wrangler, with his hair gelled up so sticky its not moving an inch with the top down — just remember your tax dollars are making that everyday vanity possible.

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