Magaha not the only one under fire for pay raises

January 3, 2013

Don Gaetz
Once the two legislative leaders were sworn in, Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford immediately hired new chiefs of staff and paid them more than taxpayers pay state Cabinet officials, according to the Miami Herald.

Weatherford hired Kathy Mears as his chief of staff at $145,008 annual salary. Gaetz (R-Niceville) promoted his top aide, Chris Clarke, raising his salary from $77,000 to $150,000.

The leaders of the Florida Legislature are paying 62 top policy advisors and staff directors more than $100,000 a year. And they gave salary increases totaling $252,000 to their 17 highest-paid employees.

Daily News investigative reporter Tom McLaughlin asked Gaetz about the raises.

Gaetz said that Clark deserved the raise because he was “basically a chief operating officer for an entire state.” Outgoing Senate President Mike Haridopolos had two different chiefs of staff during his tenure at the helm. Both were paid $175,000.

President Jeff Atwater’s “salary load” was $1.146 million, Gaetz said, and Haridopolos paid $1.292 in salaries.

Gaetz’s salary load is $1.13 million.

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  • Exit pay January 3, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Ernie Lee and top aides know more than anyone how to work a budget. I am sure there is nothing illegal here but it just looks really bad as Ernie prepares to hit the door. His unwillingness to let Childers in the door prior to his departure makes him look bad as well – he comes off as an angry and bitter sore loser. Not a good way to leave an office you have held for decades.

  • George Hawthorne January 3, 2013 at 8:36 am

    You gotta love Ernie though, I guess he showed them why he was the longest tenured elected official.

  • George Hawthorne January 3, 2013 at 8:33 am


    At least the didn’t name the capitol after Gaetz or Weatherford. Looks like the former BOCC members (not Barry or May) got caught with their pants down on that vote. They look like they don’t know what is happening with the County’s fiscal management after they had voted against giving all employees raises and then Ernie found the money to take care of his employees. Budget guru About the raises by Magaha, Amy Lovoy was quoted saying, “it wasn’t in the budget.” Well how did it happen?