Gateway Sun

Today should have been a day when morale was at an all-time high at the Gateway CDD offices. Instead there could be plenty of second-guessing of career choices taking place at 13240 Griffin Drive.

At yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors the topic of the district staffing plan was on the agenda. When it came time to discuss the pay scales for the four key district staff positions there was a disconnect as to what actually constituted pay.

Chairman Margaret Fineberg and Supervisor Ed Tinkle believed that the “salary” of an employee would include paychecks, health insurance and other benefits.

Vice-Chairman Bill Guy and Supervisor Doug Banks believed that salary was pay only.

The value of benefits was quoted as 28% of salary multiple times during yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, meaning a $50,000 “salary” should actually be $39,000 in pay and $11,000 in benefits under the Fineberg-Tinkle Rule.

Since the staffing plan calls for the District Manager position to have a salary range between $80,000 to $97,000, take-home pay would be $62,500 to $75,781 before taxes.

Meanwhile the Business Manager, Utilities Manager and Public Works Manager would all have salaries between $64,000 to $78,000 – or $50,000 to $60,938 before taxes, again according to Fineberg and Tinkle.

Under that scenario current Operations Manager April White would be expected to leave her job at Severn Trent where she makes $68,000 and become a district employee making a maximum of $60,938. We do not normally publish the salaries of specific employees, however White openly shared her salary in yesterday’s public session.

Chris Shoemaker shared that he makes $72,000 per year as the Utility Manager. Despite the fact he’s being promoted to District Manager, he too could face a paycut under the Fineberg-Tinkle Rule.

Guy and Banks were perplexed that their fellow Supervisors looked at salary as including health insurance. Guy had to raise his voice while speaking to the board in support of the staff on this issue, and at one point Banks literally face-palmed.

Fineberg decided to send a text message to district management guru Joe DeCerbo (who helped craft the GSCDD staffing plan) seeking clarification. Did salary include benefits under the developed plan?

DeCerbo said no. Salary is pay only. Benefits are additional costs to the district.

Tinkle then expressed concern that with the high costs of the staff’s health insurance plan, the staff restructuring would be far more expensive than he originally thought. (I believe someone may have written something about the insurance costs awhile ago. DeCerbo agreed with that certain someone, btw.)

I have never seen a job listing, or posted a job offer for one of my businesses, where the pay or salary listed included benefits. I have always assumed that the salary is the actual pay the employee receives and any benefit costs were separate. So I’m not sure what experience Fineberg and Tinkle have had in their careers that led them to the conclusion that the “Salary Range” (GSCDD’s exact term) included health insurance costs and other benefits.

In the end the Supervisors agreed to tentatively promote Shoemaker at his current pay and give him the title of District Manager In Waiting. The board also hired White from Severn Trent at her current pay with the title of Business Manager.

The topic of staff pay will be addressed again at the next district meeting on January 5, 2017.

Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty said she conducted research and felt that DeCerbo’s suggested ranges for the four key employees were spot on. Banks felt the ranges were a little low.

It’s not clear why Fineberg and Tinkle believe the district can hire a top-notch Utilities Manager with a pay scale starting at $50,000 per year and topping out a little under $61,000.

Regardless, based on Guy’s statements at the meeting he will ensure the staff are treated fairly from a financial standpoint. As will Banks and Flaherty, based on their comments.

Thanks to those three Supervisors, that means when the dust settles the GSCDD staff will be fairly compensated for the services they provide to Gateway residents.

But it would have been nice if all five Supervisors backed that concept yesterday.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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