Scott calls pay hike for election supervisors 'right thing to do'
Calling it "the right thing to do," Gov. Rick Scott says he will sign legislation Wednesday to give 66 Florida supervisors of elections significant pay raises this fall.
"I think they've done a good job," Scott told reporters Tuesday.
The bill (SB 514) was among the most controversial in the House in the recently-ended legislative session, and squeaked through by a 58 to 54 margin. Pay raise supporters say supervisors historically have been paid less than other constitutional officers, such as sheriffs, in part because the office has been predominantly held by women.
Scott's chief elections adviser, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, is a strong supporter of the pay raise and he urged Scott sign it.
"When you look at constitutional officers across the board, they're one of the lowest paid constitutional officers," Detzner said. "Being a supervisor of elections is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week experience, and I think they deserve it, so I've communicated that to the governor."
The bill would grant raises averaging 19 percent to election supervisors in every county except for Miami-Dade, where it's an appointed position. The actual raises would range between $18,000 and $20,000 and would cost $1.2 million statewide. The money would be paid with local property tax revenue. On the day the bill passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin, one supervisor was watching happily from the visitors' gallery: Mike Bennett of Manatee County, a former state senator.
Last year, Bennett reported a salary of $117,000 as supervisor of elections. Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube reported a salary of $147,000.