Gainesville City Commissioners voted 4-1 to nearly double their salaries

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 11:11 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Some city employees expressed surprise as Gainesville commissioners voted to increase their salaries in a 4-1 vote.

“I have advocated wage increases for the lowest in the organization up to our chart officers and now here at the last, I would like to offer what I think is just compensation for the people that take this seat after me,” said commissioner David Arreola.

This will raise commissioners’ salaries from $37,085.85 to $71,015.09 and for the mayor from $47,199.21 to $88,768.86.

The debate came down to whether the job is full or part-time. Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos explained why he voted for the increase.

“In district two there are no homes for sale for someone on a commissioner’s salary could buy and afford. In district four there’s only one home and in district two there are only five homes after these changes are made that could be afforded in those districts.”

Many residents spoke against the salary increase and compared wages for other city elected officials in Florida.

In Ocala, city council members’ salary is $200 monthly. In the City of Palm Bay, which is roughly the size of Gainesville, council members make $12,000, and a little more than $24,000 for mayor.

“I’ve ran twice I knew what the salary was when I ran for office and that was a choice that you make,” said CWA organizer Jenn Powell.

Powell added that despite near-record inflation city employees didn’t receive a raise.

“The city workers were not asking for a 45 to 50% increase in pay I believe they were asking for I believe 8 percent. I guess I expected this I had a feeling it was going to pass.”

The salaries go into effect when the new commission takes over in January and city documents said the impact will be up to $400,000 per year.

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