Key West Politics: $85,000 Year Position Posted

There are two main positions
open in the City of Key West – the
General Services Director and
Growth Management Planner.

Currently, Doug Bradshaw, who
oversees the Truman Waterfront
development, is handling some
of the duties that fall under the
General Services position, but
according to Commissioner Billy
Wardlow he already has a “pretty
full plate.” At Tuesday evening’s
city commission meeting, Wardlow
suggested more investigation
is done in-house before the city’s
hires another full time employee.

According to the city’s website
(keywestcity.com) the position has
been posted as:
Department Head position
responsible for the overall planning,
organization and management
of all aspects of department
functions, including general
administration, budgeting, capital
planning, rate models and policy
development. Responsible for assuring
that projects are consistent
with applicable codes, standards
and principles; are completed on
schedule and within budget; are
environmentally responsible; and
enhance, improve and respect our
community standards of living
and quality of life.

The salary advertised is
$85,000. City manager, Jim Scholl
says the position is a tough one
and takes a specialized skill set.

Commissioner Wardlow expressed
he is hesitant to bring new employees
onto the payroll whether
they’re from the area or not. The
other notable position posted is
one for a Growth Management
Planner. A title which comes with
a set salary of $68,052.

This position will manage
major planning tasks, including
maintenance and updates to the
Comprehensive Plan. Responsible
for short range planning issues,
including regulatory applications
and revisions to the Land Development
Regulations, development
review and code interpretations.

Performs a variety of complex
administrative and professional
work in planning, organizing
and directing all phases of land
use planning as directed by City
Planner.

Again, Wardlow, “Let’s see what
we can do with what we have.
That’s almost $150,000 for two
positions.”

On the other end of the pay
scale spectrum, the city has listed
a position for a community services
maintenance worker. The pay
is just over $10 an hour, ($10.36),
for laboring duties; which include,
mowing, building sidewalks,
painting, cleaning the streets, etc.
Part of the compensation includes
insurance through the city. Wardlow
points out, 70 percent of the
city’s budget goes toward salaries
and benefits, and that is why, as
the department heads search to
fill these positions, he is asking
city manager Jim Scholl to find
out the total amount every city
employee is being paid – including
perks.

“I totally agree with Commissioner
Wardlow,” Mayor Craig Cates
nodded his head to the request
during the city manager’s report
Tuesday night.

The information won’t be hard
to compile. The salaries, benefits,
retirement, and perks are computed
before every budget year
during open meetings.
“That information is always
reviewed as part of the budget
information process. What we
pay for some of the employees
who have specialized training like
planning director, Amy Kimball-
Murley and city attorney, Shawn
Smith. We pay people who have
special skills and who are required
to these very, very critical jobs that
affect the entire city. We have the
information. It’s on Mark’s (Finigan)
desk.”

Line by line, the city manager
and commissioners, in meetings
open to the public, decide what
the employees’ base salaries are,
how much additional money
they will receive in order to keep
up special credentials, including
MCSC and EMT certification, and
their retirement contribution.

Every employee’s name is already
on a print-out, in an attempt for
Scholl and his staff to be a “good
stewards of public funds.”

“That’s why they hired us,”
Scholl told the Weekly.

“Some of them get gas pump
privileges, some of them get cell
phones, some get a car allowance,
that adds up,” Commissioner
Wardlow does the calculating.

“Not that these privileges need removed.
We have employees who
are on call 24/7. We need to be
able to reach them whenever we
can. I get $50 a month for my cell
phone allowance. All city commissioners
do. I’m not after anybody.

I just want to know what we’re
paying these people. That’s part of
my job…to know.”

All of the salaries and benefits
are approved every budget year
which runs parallel to that of the
federal government, October 1 –
September 30. For anyone who
has a gas, or phone allowance the
perk has to be signed off by Human
Resources and the city manager.

Allocating 70 – 72 percent of
a city’s general fund for personnel,
and 28 percent for operational is
typical, points out Scholl, because
of the number of police officers
and firefighters. Manpower is what
makes up the general fund. He
may be sending out the personnel
payroll to Mayor Cates and the six
commissioners. The information is
readily available.

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