Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Columbia County News

County Rearranges Its Deck Chairs: 3 New Job Titles Equals Raises Averaging 20.5%

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Tonight, beginning at its new 5:30 pm time, Columbia County's legendary County Commission is scheduled to vote on raises for three county employees in three rearranged job titles. Collectively, the average raise is 20.5% not including the cost of benefits. The County's Director of Public Works (now the Operations Manager) is on tap to receive a $22,108.53 raise; the Senior Staff Assistant (now the Safety Manager) $17,489.99; and the Assistant County Manager (new title unclear) $9.483.92. These amounts include the almost $7,000 cost of additional benefits. If approved, the pay raises will be retroactive to October 1, 2012.

The talk of pay raises was the scuttlebutt during the budget hearings early last year (2012) during the reign of terror of then Commissioner Jody DuPree. While no one would go on the record for fear of losing their jobs, the talk was the county was going to rearrange and re-title its administrative positions from Assistant County Manager, Director of Public Works, and Senior Staff Assistant to the new ones mentioned above in order to give the Director of Public Works a raise.

Months passed without comment as work to rearrange Columbia County's governance went on behind the scenes out of the public's eye. Meetings were scheduled and rescheduled and promised information was never made available to the public.

On May 13, 2012, at the usual 12th hour, County Manager Dale Williams came up with a flow chart showing the new county positions which was headed up by a box titled, "Citizens Of Columbia County." The "Citizens" were given no warning and no chance to comment regarding the rearranging of their county government.

In a report dated January 21, 2013, Kurt Spitzer of Spitzer and Associates, the same firm that towed the County line during the County Charter Hearings, made the same recommendations that were made in May of 2012.

Mr. Spitzer's report claims that "County staff has provided us with information concerning the compensation of similar positions in counties of similar size." This information was never made publically available or made available by Mr. Spitzer in his report, which then goes on to say, "It is impossible to identify positions that are identical in terms of duties, responsibilities and operating budgets, especially in counties that are of similar size and/or in close geographic proximity to Columbia County..."

Tonight, at its new time, Columbia County's legendary County Commission will vote on raises for three employees averaging 20.5%.

Public Works Director, Kevin Kirby's new title of Operations Manager moves him from $88,000 to $107,000.

Senior Staff Assistant, David Kraus, now the Safety Manager, moves from $54,933 to $69,933.

The only woman on the list, former Assistant County Manager Lisa Roberts, who worked her way up through the ranks over the past 23 years, was rearranged to receive the lowest raise, 12.7%, which brings her to $72,093 from $63,959.

It's business as usual in Columbia County.

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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