BY JENNIFER CABRERA / JUNE 6, 2019
James Thompson’s op-ed, posted June 6 on the Gainesville Sun’s website, argues that Gainesville city commissioners are underpaid, making just $15.38/hour—but that assumes that they work full-time. The job was never intended to be a full-time job; the governing structure of Gainesville puts the City Manager in charge of day-to-day operations, with city commissioners providing oversight. The scope of the job and the salary are known (or should be) to every candidate for City Commission, so it is difficult to sympathize with commissioners who crusade for massive changes in city government (as Gail Johnson has) and then complain that they are not being paid enough for the hours they’re working.
Let’s compare Gainesville with other cities around the northern part of state:
Ocala’s population is 57,000. Its commissioners make $6000/year, including a vehicle and gasoline allowance. The council president is paid $6600/year, and the mayor is paid $11,400/year. Their pay has not increased since 1977.
Daytona Beach has a population of 68,000. Its city commissioners make $23,650/year.
Gainesville has a population of 132,000. Its city commissioners make $32,730.01/year, and the mayor, who has added ceremonial duties, makes $41,656.42.
Tallahassee has a population of 191,000. Its commissioners make $36,000/year, and the mayor makes $72,000/year.
Jacksonville’s population is 892,000. A recent raise brought the annual salary of council members from $44,000 to $49,000, while the council president’s salary rose from $58,800 to $65,500 .
A survey of 35 municipalities by Ocala City Manager John Zobler in 2018 showed that the average salary for city council members was $9,898/year. No information on the size of the cities was provided.
Thanks to George Braun for the research.