It pays to manage a city or a county

Lantana Town Manager Deborah Manzo

When Palm Beach County commissioners recently contemplated extending the contract of County Administrator Verdenia Baker, they had at their disposal a salary survey to show where her pay would slot among peers in different parts of the state.

One consideration, in general terms, is this: the bigger the population of residents, the more responsibility for the county or city manager and, thus, the more loot they should be paid.

Baker’s salary is $273,183 per year – less than her fellow administrator in Broward, which has a larger population than Palm Beach County, and more than fellow administrators in Orange, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, all of which have smaller populations than Palm Beach County.

But the salary survey didn’t just include county administrator pay. It showed how much some city managers rake in, as well.

Turns out, they rake in quite a bit, regardless of the size of the populations they serve.

Take, for example, Fort Lauderdale’s city manager, who, according the survey, pulls in a hefty $238,222 per year, despite the fact that the city only has 176,013 residents. Miami’s city manager makes $224,663 while the city’s population stands at 417,650.

But those are famous, large cities with complicated challenges, right?

Miramar’s city manager brings in a cool $199,000 overseeing services to a city of 130,288, according to the county survey. Pembroke Pines, with a population of 166,611, pays its city manager $274,996.

No administrators or managers, however, are making out quite as well on the pay-per-population scale as Lantana’s town manager and Palm Beach Gardens’ city manager.

Lantana’s town manager makes $131,586 overseeing services to a town of 10,737 residents. And Palm Beach Gardens’ city manager makes $225,835 to oversee services to 52,923 residents, the survey shows.

That’s more than the $224,789 West Palm Beach pays its city manager. West Palm Beach’s population is 102,436, nearly twice that of Palm Beach Gardens.

PBC being asked for 27 acres of park land for sports fields

PBC Commissioner Hal Valeche

Palm Beach Shores Mayor Myra Koutzen has written to County Commissioner Hal Valeche to express her support for a plan to build sports fields on 27 acres of the North County District Park.

Koutzen notes that Palm Beach Gardens wants to use some of its money from the one-cent sales tax increase to build sports fields on park land, which is located in Valeche’s district.

“As a small community with very limited public space, our residents have particular need of the types of recreational space proposed for that area of the North County District Park,” Koutzen wrote in am email to Valeche. “We are particularly appreciative that Palm Beach Gardens opens their facilities to residents of neighboring communities such as ours. This proposal would support their ability to continue to provide this access in the future.”

New Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks sworn in

Dorothy Jacks, longtime chief deputy to Gary Nikolits, is sworn in by retired Judge Mary Lupoi at the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse Tuesday, January 3, 2017. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Dorothy Jacks, longtime chief deputy to Gary Nikolits, is sworn in by retired Judge Mary Lupoi at the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse Tuesday, January 3, 2017. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

In the main courtroom of the historic 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse, whose first tenant a century ago was Palm Beach County’s “tax assessor,” that post’s ninth incarnation was sworn in Tuesday.

With a big smile, and with her family looking on from the old jury box, new Palm Beach County Property Appraiser — that’s the title now — Dorothy Jacks took the oath of office from a woman whose children she’d baby-sat as a 13-year-old in Palm Beach Gardens: retired Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Mary Lupo.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say that was very emotional,” said Jacks, whose voice then faltered with emotion as she said, “there is really nothing better in life than a dream come true.”

Jacks noted that now four of the county’s six constitutional officers are women: herself, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, Tax Collector Anne Gannon, and Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock, all of who attended Tuesday’s swearing-in. (The other two are State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who also attended, and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who was not there.)

Jacks worked in the property appraiser’s office for 28 years and was chief deputy since 2012 for Gary Nikolits, who stepped down after nearly a quarter-century at the post.

Ethics panel clears Delray Beach lawn worker

ethics logoDelray Beach parks and recreation maintenance worker Gordon Eaton was cleared Thursday by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics of charges that he worked for an outside landscape firm that did business with the city.

The commission issued a ruling of “no probable cause” after a 15-minute closed-door meeting.

City Manager Donald Cooper had written the commission May 19 to say an audit indicated the city had paid Tropical Landscaping a total $1,264 in 2012 and 2014 for the purchase of plants. The audit also showed records indicating Eaton was either an officer of the firm or its liaison with the city.

But both Eaton, who’s worked for the city since 2007, and the firm’s owners, said Eaton never had worked for the firm, and Eaton had received no money for the city for any work he would have done for Tropical.

Both Eaton and the firm said they had no idea why the payments showed up in city records. Eaton had gone so far as to file a police report in Palm Beach Gardens, where he lives, alleging identity theft.

Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office to hold Passport application day Friday

Photo caption: Lock up that passport! Photo credit: SwimParallel

A special  “Passport Day” is set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 25, at the three branch offices of the Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller.

In addition to its West County Courthouse in Belle Glade,  the clerk also will have special Friday hours at the North County Courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens and the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach; those two locations usually are closed on Friday.

Each applicant, whether adult or child, must come in person and bring one piece of proof of citizenship (previous passport, certified copy of birth certificate with names of both parents, or certificate of naturalization) and one piece of proof of identity (previous passport, current drivers license, state identification card or certificate of naturalization)

Payments to the U.S. Department of State must be by personal check, cashier’s check or money order; no cash or credit cards. A separate application fee to the clerk can be made by cash, check or card.

The clerk’s office also will offer passport photos on site for a charge.

No appointment is needed.

If your passport is expired for less than 5 years, this event isn’t for you; you must renew by mail.

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