Mayor Ward reverses course, Gainesville Commission pay raise moving forward

Gainesville commission moving forward with pay bump
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:16 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Despite public outcry and a repeal motion, most Gainesville city commissioners and the mayor want to nearly double their salary.

At Thursday’s city meeting, the commission voted to continue to move forward with an ordinance voted on in December to set a pay scale similar to that of county commissioners. This comes after newly elected commissioner Ed Book motioned to repeal the ordinance. It was seconded by Commissioner Desmon Duncan Walker but got no other “yes” votes from commissioners or the mayor.

“Very few cities across the state, very few of those elected officials make more than we do, very few, looking at them and highlighting them most of them are in south Florida,” said Book.

RELATED STORY: Gainesville City Commission meets to discuss pay raise approved by previous commission

The most notable no-vote was Mayor Harvey Ward. Ward was the only member of the board who voted on the ordinance in December to change his mind. After voting it down initially, Ward is now for a pay raise along with commissioners Chestnut, Eastman, Saco, and Willits.

All but one resident who spoke during public comment was against the pay raise moving forward. Many spoke about the commission making a similar decision to repeal the ordinance much like they repealed the decision to get rid of single-family zoning more than a week ago.

Jenn Powell, a union organizer for CWA 3170 which is the union for city workers, says that 280 employees at the city work for less than $20 an hour.

“We have quite a few people who are living at or below the poverty level working for the city of Gainesville,” said Powell.

As it stands, Commissioner salaries will go to more than $71,000 yearly and Mayor Ward will make more than $90,000 starting on Oct. 1.

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.