Letter to the editor: Reader corrects editor’s column

Posted

I read with interest (and some concern), the story that you posted on December 20, 2017 entitled, “The Math Simply Doesn't Add Up.” With all due respect, your math doesn’t add up because you are completely wrong in your application of the formula used to calculate county salaries based on the State’s recommendation.

While you shared with your readers that the actual salary for a Clay County Commissioner should be calculated just south of $22,500, the proper application of the formula would result in the amount listed in the 2017-2018 Office of Economic and Demographic Research’s Finalized Salaries report (attached to this email). If you will allow me, I’ll gladly explain the formula to you so that you can correct this error for your readers.

The correct formula for salary is listed in the linked document from the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research:

[Base Salary + (Population Above Group Minimum x Group Rate)] x Initial Factor x Certified Annual Factor x Certified Cumulative Annual Factor.

For a County Commissioner in Clay, the 2017-2018 result would be:

[16,500+ [(205,321-200,000) x .015] ] x 1.292 x 1.0413 x 3.3034=

$73,685 (the newest chart lists it as $73,686).

Please note that the population number of 205,321 is based on the 2016 Estimate from the State. Also worth noting is that (based on their archives), the 2005 salaries of the BCC (pre-scandal) would have been $55,103 based on a population estimate of 156,011.

Additionally, you reported that Mr. Price’s[Clay County Auditor] explanation that the significant decrease in Commissioner salary was “pish posh” leads me to believe that you have not read Mr. Price’s final report on his internal inquiry of the 2005 relationship between the BCC, the County Manager, and a Department Head in Public Works.

The scathing 47-page report clearly reveals that members of the BCC were (at best) not performing their jobs in a manner consistent with the Charter. The move by the 2006 Charter Review Commission to get 7 BCC members for the price of 5 by reducing the salaries accordingly coupled with the actions of Citizens for Term Limits Accountability in Clay to punish the BCC for prior bad actions are the reason that the current (and future) BCCs are capped at $37,000. These are the facts.

Finally, while this particular issue of salary was not an item in my suggested list of agenda items for the CRC, the decision to recommend to the voters that they return BCC members to a State-recommended salary, a percentage of that amount, or leave the Commissioners at the current structure is an important and weighty decision that members of the 2017-2018 Charter Review Commission have determined to address.

Ultimately, the power of the CRC is simply to place an item on the November 2018 ballot. The voters of Clay County will make the final decision.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the 2017-2018 Charter Review Commission and (because of Sunshine laws) cannot debate any aspect of this issue in a forum where other members of the CRC might read it and be influenced. The information that I have provided above is factual and has been discussed at length during televised meetings of the CRC.

While you seem to call the integrity of CRC members into question (Rubber-stamp), I can tell you that I serve on this Commission out of a sense of duty to a county that I have lived in and loved ever since my early days of throwing papers for...wait for it...the Clay Today.

I’ll vote for what I believe will benefit the county not just today, but for the next 10-20 years. The two remaining issues that I have on the agenda for future discussion are term limits (both BCC and Constitutionals) and single-member vs. at-large voting for BCC candidates.

Again, thank you in advance for correcting your story.

Art Hooker

Fleming Island

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