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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Harris pay-cut idea falls flat



In his re-election campaign, Pinellas County Commissioner Calvin Harris has revived his old calling card: creating more well-paid jobs.

That is, unless those employees work for the county.

Harris, 69, a Democrat, recently told the St. Petersburg Times he wants every worker under the seven-member commission who makes $100,000 or more to take a 1 percent pay cut. Harris, who built a reputation on hawkish fiscal views and backing corporate programs during his 13 years on the board, complained that salaries rose too much in the mid 2000s.

"It just went out of whack," Harris said, projecting a $500,000 savings to taxpayers.

That amount of savings would be relatively small for a county with a roughly $80 million shortfall predicted over the next two years.

But a closer look at county salaries showed that a 1 percent cut for six-figure earners wouldn't come close to $500,000, an exaggeration that Harris later acknowledged.

Story here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 4:32pm]


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