Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

For at least six months the Board of Supervisors of the Gateway Services Community Development District has been openly discussing having the Operations Manager become a direct employee of the district, rather than having that role filled by someone who works for the district’s management firm Severn Trent.

The previous Operations Manager, Scott Connell, was a Severn Trent employee.

The current interim Operations Manager, April White, is currently also a Severn Trent employee.

But the Supervisors would like to change that arrangement at the GSCDD meeting on June 2 by making White a district employee.

Here’s the problem.

Severn Trent is paid $225,000 per year, and that includes supplying an Operations Manager. First it was Connell, now it’s White.

Under the proposed new agreement, Severn Trent’s pay would drop to $149,400 per year and they would not supply an Operations Manager.

That sounds great, except that White will be paid an average of $90,000 per year over the 3-year duration of the contract she’s been offered.

That means district residents will be paying $14,400 more per year than if they had just left the arrangement with Severn Trent alone.

But of course, that’s not all you need to consider.

When you add in the payroll taxes on $90,000 ($6,885), plus workman’s comp, and also include the cost for health insurance, then you’ve got an additional cost of at least $30,000 – per year.

To be perfectly clear, this is not a knock on the salary of the Operations Manager. By all accounts it’s reasonable. Additionally, White is doing a perfectly fine job in the role from what we’re hearing.

The question that the Supervisors need to answer to Gateway residents is why it’s worth an extra $30,000 per year in costs to directly employ the Operations Manager, versus having them be a Severn Trent employee.

What’s the difference? What’s the benefit to the residents for that extra $30,000 per year? Why didn’t they just leave things alone with Severn Trent?

You get the same person, in the same role, for $30,000 more?

Hopefully the Supervisors will answer those questions at the GSCDD meeting on June 2, when White’s status and contract are expected to be addressed.

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

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