Getting a raise is usually something to celebrate.
Unless you happen to be a Manatee County commissioner.
That $272 bump they just got from the state?
They must wish it never happened.
That goes for Carol Whitmore.
At least one other county commissioner, too.
Given the economic straits their constituents have endured the past several years, it isn’t right.
Not with double-digit unemployment in our community.
Many of those who do have jobs probably can’t remember their last raise.
They’re just glad to still be working.
Our teachers must be shaking their heads.
Or considering running for county commission.
Seventy-five thou for a part-time gig?
Already reeling from the impact of state budget cuts in their classrooms, Manatee County District teachers are amidst contentious contract negotiations.
They’re looking at a 2.75 percent pay cut and a 12 percent to 48 percent increase in health insurance premiums to go with it.
Don’t forget the additional 3 percent they’re kicking into the Florida Retirement System, too.
Be nice for the state to show them a little love, huh?
This pay raise is another case of elected public officials taking care of other elected officials on the taxpayer’s dime.
But our county commissioners would never do such a thing, right?
The raise in question was a function of a state law.
Bless the Florida Legislature.
Something called the Office of Economic Demographic Research calculates salary adjustments each year for constitutional officers and “adjusts” their salaries accordingly.
Besides county commissioners that includes:
n Circuit court clerks.
n County comptrollers.
n Supervisor of elections.
n Property appraisers.
n Tax collectors.
They received raises, too, but whether they’ll emulate commissioners like Whitmore and Michael Gallen, who will donate theirs to charity, is another matter.
Chips Shore, the clerk of circuit court and comptroller, is donating his to United Way.
I can think of a couple of places struggling to meet the needs of the poor where $272 would help immediately.
Like the Stillpoint House of Prayer on 14th Street.
Imagine all the groceries a couple hundred dollars would buy for a needy family.
That’d be getting a bang for our bucks, all right.
Of course, if county commissioners wanted to do right by the taxpayers, really show they are good stewards of the public’s money, they could always voluntarily reduce their salaries.
That’s state law, too.
Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a phone number for verification purposes.