City’s six charter officers given 2% raises

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 9:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 9:39 p.m.

The Gainesville City Commission on Thursday voted to give the city’s six charter officers 2 percent raises -- after the six had gone two years without salary increases.

Commissioner Todd Chase voted against the raises, saying giving pay bumps to the charter officers -- the city manager, city auditor, equal opportunity director, Gainesville Regional Utilities general manager, commission clerk and city attorney -- would send the wrong signal to employees, whom the commission has asked to make sacrifices in recent budget cycles.

The charter offices, who made a combined $860,986.89 ahead of Thursday’s vote, will get a combined $17,219.74 more. The change will be retroactive to early January.

GRU General Manager Bob Hunzinger, the city’s highest-paid employee, will now make more than $218,000 a year.

City Manager Russ Blackburn will make nearly $175,000, City Auditor Brent Godshalk nearly $114,000, Equal Opportunity Director Cecil Howard about $104,000, Commission Clerk Kurt Lannon about $97,500 and City Attorney Marion Radson about $169,000.

Ahead of approving the raises, City Commissioner Scherwin Henry praised the officers for how they have weathered the recession, in which the general government cut some $15 million from the budget in recent years.

“They are leaders and we ask these leaders to fall on the sword as we are going through budget cuts,” Henry said. “I’d rather be here in Gainesville than to be other places that aren’t faring as well, I’ll tell you that. You only reach that level because you have good people, intelligent people, committed people and smart people in the jobs.”

Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa singled out Hunzinger for his “outstanding” work at the helm of the utility but praised all of the charter officers.

“All of our charter officers work above and beyond,” Mastrodicasa said. “They don’t just do what they have to do.”

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