Recently, the Palm Beach Post put out a story about about the City of Wellington’s Commissioner’s salary.
From the article, they noted Wellington has added the $500 month expense allowance for Council members to the salary of $300 month since they receive retirement contributions on both amounts in the Florida retirement system. At the time it was enacted, it was deemed an “expense allowance” and not a “salary increase”, even though it was treated as salary for tax and retirement purposes.
Now with ethics changes and Wellington’s new motto of transparency in government, it is changing.
I thought we would take a moment this AM to look at Lauderdale Lakes on this subject.
Section 3.07 of the City’s Charter mandates that any increase in salary for the Mayor/Commission must be approved by the voters. And two times now, the voters have slammed this door shut on them with resounding “not only no but hell no” votes. The Charter further states that expense allowances can enacted by ordinance.
Lets’ break this down:
- Annual Commissioner salary: $8,100
- Annual expense allowance: $8,640 (No receipts or documentation required- they receive this automatically)
- And yes, Commissioners receive 401 retirement contributions on both amounts… *This amount goes back to $9,100 in 2013
Is this a direct attempt to circumvent voter’s intentions?
If you need an increase, do it by expense allowances, as you don’t need the voters for that. City Atty JimDilbo Brady has said this expense allowance is “compensation”, not “salary.”
But look closer … the Commissioners are receiving 401 contributions on it.
What is that about walks like a duck, quacks like a duck….
But it doesn’t end there-
The Commission has enacted a cafeteria “executive” plan that allows each Commissioner to put $7,500 annually in a deferred compensation (tax deferred supplemental retirement) plan for themselves. This is after full insurance at the HMO level is provided for each Commissioner. *
Let’s add this up: (You can compare size of cities, budgets, etc if you would like, but it is nowhere close)
- Annual Salary- $8,100
- Annual Expense Allow- $8,640
- Total $16,740
- Annual Salary- $3,600
- Annual Expense Allow- $6,000
- Total $9,600
- Lauderdale Lakes: Executive Plan: $7,500 (Sup. retirement)
- Lauderdale Lakes: additional expense “Indirect” allowances for each Commissioner: $4,500
- Wellington: $0
Annual cost to the taxpayer per Commissioner:
- Lauderdale Lakes: $28,740
- Wellington: $9,600
* By the way this is how Deadbeat Dad pulled one over on the child support issue- only used direct salary from City. That and also did not have any business income listed (big joke).