If anyone doubts whether our group, Budget Hawks, is telling the truth when we complain that city spending is out of control, you now have the prima facie proof that we are on the mark.

The city manager, in consultation with some or all of the City Commission, and with no prior disclosure to the public, elected to dole out mega-raises totaling $370,000 to 16 senior city staff.

In two instances, the raises amounted to almost $50,000 per staff member, thereby increasing his or her annual salary to $175,000.

In some instances staff members received salary raises in excess of $10,000, even though no additional responsibilities were added to the positions.

When benefits like retirement contributions, health insurance, car allowance, cell phones and free iPads are added, each $175,000 position costs taxpayers approximately $240,000.

The city manager claims his reorganization of senior staff saved
$1 million, but to date, no detailed explanation of the savings has been provided to the public.

We call on the City Commission to give the public a full accounting of how these exorbitant raises were made outside the approved budget of 2 percent raises for city employees.

Catherine Baer, Russell Price, Penny Herman and Sam Bell

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