Editorial: What’s your excuse now?

Editor Michael GoldFinally, it’s over. July 4th may mark our independence as a nation, but it is July 1st that marks our independence in St. Johns County and across Florida from an antiquated 1973 system that officially was enacted to “standardize” pay of county officials based on the county’s population.

No more — thanks to the passage of House Bill 19 and Senate Bill 870 this year regarding the compensation of county officials.

No more will we have to suffer the political rhetoric or crocodile tears shed by overpaid county commissioners at budget time; or Florida’s clerks of the circuit court, sheriffs, supervisors of elections, property appraisers or tax collectors.

No more will they be able to say, “My salary is set by the state. I don’t have anything to do with it.”

Unfortunately, the population formula still exists; however, and this is a BIG however, these civil servants can now opt to lower their salaries below the population guidelines as of July 1, 2011 if they so choose.

$62,495.63 County Commissioner in St. Johns County

$30,336.00 State Representative William L. Proctor
$30,336.00 State Senator John Thrasher

$19,691.92 St. Augustine Mayor
$14,768.94 St. Augustine City Commissioner

$7,734.00 St. Augustine Beach Mayor
$6,445.00 St. Augustine Beach Commissioner

Remember these numbers when County Manager Michael Wanchick stands before the County Commissioners on Tuesday, July 12th — with his proposed budget and proposed millage increase, ostensibly after every cut that can be made has been made; short of effecting public safety or St. Johns County’s “quality of life”.

Also remember, if you will, that Administrator Michael Wanchick earns $170,000 annually.

There is no good reason that a county commissioner should earn more than our state representatives or state senators. The average per capita income in St. Johns County is $36,198, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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