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Did The 5 Drop the Ball: Will County Web Designer-Programmer Be Lured Away By Fair Pay?

Posted October 3, 2014  11:59 am

The figures by Robert Half represent IT salaries for 2015 throughout the United States. Each category is a part of Mr. Weaver's job.   +enlarge

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night, after months of backroom dealing and squandering tens of thousands on useless and unused salary studies, the County 5 once again had on the table the salary of the County's in-house programmer/web designer.

After working in the shadows for months, The 5 finally reached an agreement that could be publically discussed.

Sitting on a stash of cash estimated to be about $40,000,000, The 5 finally agreed to change the job title and admitted that the employee had been doing much more than for what he was hired. The unanimous raise was barely competitive and represents .029% of the county's cash stash.

Read more about Columbia County's infamous County 5.

A Little History

In late January, 2007, Patrick Weaver was interviewed in a field of two for the job of Web Designer. He came out on top. There was controversy about him being the son of County Commissioner, Dewey Weaver. Both the opinions of the State Attorney General and the Ethics Commission found there were no violations.

CM Williams: Patrick wrote the programs and the applications

The 5 ignored an earlier presentation showing the disparity of the proposed County pay raise vs. real word pay.

County Manager (CM) Dale Williams began the evening's salary discussion regarding Mr. Weaver. "We heard a little bit about the revised job description and the salary adjustment proposal for the Web Designer. The position was originally developed in 2007. We all agree that the position has grown from that to pretty much a programmer and developer position."

CM Williams provided an extensive list of projects for which Mr. Weaver had written the programs; written the applications; or developed the data base applications.

The resultant work is used in most areas of the county – from the 911 call center, to the road department, to two commissioners' IPads, from which they follow the county's agendas and back-up material.

CM Williams said, "When we buy these programs from the outside our licensing agreements have to be paid for each and every year."

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An employee in the finance department told the Observer, "One of the programs he developed would have cost at least $20,000, excluding the recurring licensing costs."

Mr. Weavers' job description was so revamped that HR professionals who looked at it believed it should have been classified as a new position.

As is usual in the Land of The 5, the HR Department had nothing to do with the changes and yesterday afternoon didn't know anything about it.

County Manager Williams continued with his presentation, "Patrick's job description now includes things he was doing versus things he was hired to do... we look at the current rate of pay. We did not find any Patrick's been like and similar counties. Normally when we compare ourselves in terms of salaries we don't look at an Alachua County or a Marion County, we look at counties like and similar to us. We did not find any counties that had a Patrick."

The Pay

CM Williams explained that in larger counties there were similar positions. He took the minimum salaries of those counties. He said, "We found that they ranged from $24 an hour to about $40 an hour."

There was no supporting documentation, which was also missing when the County hired the County Engineer. Missing salary documentation is nothing new in Columbia County.

According to CM Williams, Mr. Weaver was hired at $18.80/hr. He currently makes $19.78. CM Williams told The 5 that he was suggesting that the hourly rate be increased to $24.58/hr. This represents 2.3% above the lowest Alachua County hourly rate.

The 5 Weigh-in: the bottom of the scale, but praise

Columbia County 5Long time County Chairman Ronald Williams entered the conversation and asked again what the minimum salary was for the position. The County manager repeated, "24 dollars an hour."

Chairman Williams, "The bottom end of the scale was 24 – the top end was 40."

Chairman Williams turned the discussion over to the Board.

Commissioner Frisina explained that she wasn't a computer whiz and Mr. Weaver was there to help her or develop a program whenever she needed help. She explained that she thought  Mr. Weaver was well worth the suggested increase. "He does above and beyond what he was hired to do."

Commissioner Nash added, "I think that when you compare other counties and things like that -- I think that's nice. It's nice to throw things up there, but when you come to hirin' people it's a matter of what you're willin' to pay that individual in Columbia County. When an employee comes to get hired, it's his choice to take that job and it is our responsibility to keep his pay competitive. It's a matter of what that job description is worth in Columbia County."

Commissioner Nash continued, "You cannot just go and give 10,000 here and 10,000 there and then just go across the board with all your employees and give em' 20% raises. It's just not affordable. The numbers have to fit into a box. I do agree that Patrick is worth that and maybe some more."

Outgoing Commissioner Bailey wrapped up The 5's conversation, "Patrick is doing more than what he was initially hired to do. I think you have to keep that in mind."

Commissioner Bailey explained that Mr. Weaver developed a program for him to track County agendas on his tablet. Commissioner Bailey said that he thought to buy the comparable program would have cost about $300,000. Both he and Ms. Frisina are using tablets now. Commissioner Nash is getting one set up.

Commissioner DePratter, who took over the seat of the very well-liked Dewey Weaver, added nothing. Commissioner Weaver was in the audience.

A confidential source told the Observer that both Commissioners Nash and DePratter were pushing back against the increase.


The 5 once again did what they do best, operate in the shadows.

After the meeting, three residents told the Observer that they thought Mr. Weaver should find another job and then tell the county to go (expletives deleted).

Another said that if Mr. Weaver did leave, one could rest assured that the job would be advertised for $20,000 more.

The legendary Columbia County 5 have recently spent $80,000 to do a study to see what you think about when you buy a six-pack of beer or buy a pair of underwear. It took them 30 seconds to make the $80k decision.

They spent over $200,000 to improve the football fields at the two County high schools, something that should have been paid for by the School District.

Last night after months of discussion The 5 deigned to give Mr. Weaver a raise which represents .0288% of the estimated $40,000,000 of the County's stash of cash.

The Columbia County 5 from left to right: Chairman Ronald Williams;
Commissioners Rusty DePratter; Bucky Nash; Stephen Bailey; Scarlet Frisina

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