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Florida Gateway College President Gets a Perfect Evaluation – Then a New Forever Contract Worth $441,000

Florida Gateway College President Larry Barrett and Nadia Comăneci
Photo: Pres. Barrett - Columbia County Observer, Nadia Comăneci - public domain

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last week, the Governor's Florida Gateway College Board kept College President Larry Barrett the highest-paid public employee in Columbia County. Adding the cost of benefits to President Barrett’s new $290,000 salary brings the value of his total package to $401,000, of which $225,000 comes from the Florida Department of Education and the balance from tuition.


In October 2012, Gov. Rick Scott requested Florida’s Chief Inspector General to review the salaries and benefits of Florida’s 26 college presidents.

Gov. Scott tasked the Chief Inspector General (CIG) to review the salary, benefits, privileges, gains, or profits incidental to the college president’s regular salary.

David Crawford, FGC Board Chairman
FGC Board Chairman David Crawford.

Of the colleges reporting in 2012, Florida Gateway College paid the third-highest annual annuity in the state. FGC paid the 12th highest vehicle benefit and was 4th in annual leave earned. FGC was 15th in other compensation and benefits (life insurance, dental insurance, accidental death ins., internet access, fuel for car, annual physical). The President's benefit package has not changed much in 2023.

In 2012, FGC was number 4 on the list of “President Leave Amounts Earned Annually.” FGC gave 57 days, including annual leave, maximum annual leave carryover, sick leave, and 15 days of "personal and or professional leave." This is basically the same today.

The CIG report also commented on "rolling" contracts. These contracts automatically renew each year, extending the contract without requiring a signed extension or amendment.

Florida Gateway College was one of the 11 colleges in 2013 that provided a rolling contract to its President.

In May 2013, the FGC board notified the Chief Inspector General that the college would “Amend [the] President’s contract from “rolling” to annual.

The FGC board also advised the CIG: “The President's compensation will be presented to the Board annually and will disclose the value of each form of compensation to ensure short-term and long-term liabilities of the College are properly recorded.”

Larry Barrett, President of Florida Gateway College
FGC President Larry Barrett on track to be spending the rest of his carreer at FGC.


During the May 5, 2023, FGC board meeting, FGC Attorney Megan Logan reviewed President Barrett's board evaluations. Attorney Logan glowed as she went over the evaluations, sounding like the famous broadcaster Jim McKay going over the performances of Nadia Comăneci during the 1976 Summer Olympics. Nadia Comăneci was a perfect ten, and so according to the FGC board, was Dr. Barrett.

Attorney Logan wrapped up her presentation by announcing to the Board, "He is exceeding expectations with perfect scores, and he continues to succeed and improve the college every day he's here.”

After Ms. Logan's presentation, Board Chairman Crawford said, "It's clear that the board is enamored with the President.”

Board member Tepedino added, “I want to make sure that we lock him in for the next five years."

Dr. Barrett’s contract did not expire until 2025. Other than “locking him in for the next five years," no one on the Board explained the urgency to renew Dr. Barrett's contract for a five-year term before the expiration of his present one. One in which he earned a base salary of $266,000.

The approved May 5, 2023, meeting minutes don’t mention one word about Attorney Logan’s presentation of Dr. Barrett's contract, or any comments of the Board.

During FGC’s next board meeting on June 8, there was considerable discussion about President Barrett’s contract.

Attorney Logan informed the Board that she did some research as it relates to extending President Barrett's contract. She explained her research consisted of a comparison of other President's contracts, as well as presidential experience.

Ms. Logan said the Board's recent evaluation[s] of Dr. Barrett, “Which were all glowing… evidenced an intent to certainly keep him around for the long haul...” "It would be my recommendation to the Board to entertain a four or five-year contract going forward with a range of two-seventy-five to two-ninety.” [$275,000-$290,000]

Ms. Logan made no mention of the cost of Dr. Barrett's additional benefit package.

Kathryn McInnis, veteran FGC Board member
Veteran Board member Kathryn McInnis.

Board member Kathryn McInnis asked, “So you are taking recommendations now?"

Ms. Logan answered, "I think I'm just looking for some direction from the board.”

Ms. McInnis immediately followed up, “So I recommend two-ninety.”

Board member Tepedino added, “I would agree with that. And I say lock 'em up for five years."

Chairman Crawford agreed.

Board member Norris asked if this was a rolling contract, something with which the CIG was not enamored.

Dr. Barrett weighed in, “I don't know legal, but I thought the rolling contracts were no longer."

Ms. Logan replied, “No, there are provisions that allow for that.” Ms. Logan did not provide the provisions.

Board member Norris still had doubts about the rolling contract, but said if Dr. Barrett was okay with it, “I don't wanna hold anything up.”

Dr. Barrett said he was uncomfortable discussing his contract “with this situation."

August 10, 2023: the last item of business, the $290k contract

 The agenda explanation was short and sweet.

Other Business-Personnel Matters
A. The Board completed and reviewed the President’s evaluation in April and Ms. Meagan (sic) Logan presented the results at the May Board meeting and she prepared and discussed those requested modifications and/or amendments to the President’s contract at the June meeting. A vote will be held at today’s meeting.

Attorney Megan Logan
Attorney Megan Logan

Once again, Megan Logan was not identified as the board attorney. Ms. Logan works for the law firm of Douglas & Douglas. She is the FGC Attorney, the Columbia County School District Attorney, and Columbia County's conflict council. The grand patriarch of Douglas & Douglas is the legendary Third Circuit Judge Vernon Douglas, retired. He is Columbia County’s special magistrate. That is a whole other story.

Dr. Barrett's contract was not made available at the August 10 board meeting, "denying the public's right to comment on the proposition before the Board," violating Florida's Open Meetings Law. One can’t comment on what one doesn’t know.

Chairman Crawford introduced item 13, Dr. Barrett's 5-year "rolling" automatic yearly renewal contract.

Attorney Logan explained: “As a result of our last meeting and the workshop… the Board tasked me with preparing a new contract for employment for him (Dr. Barrett). Um, it's in your materials, and essentially it recognizes the changes requested by the Board as far as a salary increase, um, and kind of a, an ongoing continuing cycle, um, automatic one-year renewals. Um, other than those two changes which were directed by the Board, it's largely the same as it was with regard to, um, benefits and conditions of employment. So that is before you for your consideration."

In less than two minutes, the Board approved President Barrett’s “forever” contract with automatic unlimited renewals commencing July 1, 2023.

Neither Attorney Logan nor any Board member mentioned Dr. Barrett's salary or his benefits, which are substantial.

• Dr. Barrett’s base salary: $290,000
• An annuity at 10% of his salary yearly – this year: $29,000
• 10% of his salary paid into a retirement account: $29,000
• Family health insurance: $28,000
• Unlimited business and personal use of a college-paid auto (value): $13,000
• Normal stuff like FICA: $19,000
• Ordinary things like Medicare: $8,000
• Life insurance and dental: $1,500
• 15 days extra vacation and 15 professional leave: $24,000

The total cost to the taxpayers of Dr. Barrett's Board approved contract: $441,500


On May 8, 2013, FGC’s Board contacted the Chief Inspector General. They wrote that they were amending the “President’s contract from ‘rolling’ to annual.”

Last Thursday evening, the Board reversed that.

The Board also wrote, “The President's compensation will be presented to the board annually and will disclose the value of each form of compensation…”

Nope, not that either.

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