Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough commissioners agree to furlough themselves

TAMPA — Hillsborough commissioners have agreed to accept the same hit in the paycheck that they impose on other county employees this year — no more, no less.

That could mean a freeze to commissioners $91,844 salaries, increased insurance premiums and forced, unpaid days off.

But the unanimous vote Wednesday fell far short of the 10 percent pay cut new Commissioner Kevin Beckner proposed as a way to send a message that the board was taking the sagging economy seriously. He also had proposed forgoing commissioners' $550 monthly car allowance.

Beckner responded a bit like the kid who asked for a solid chocolate bunny in his Easter basket, and got a hollow one.

"I think it's a good first step," he said. "I would have liked to see more. But I think it's a start."

Beckner had floated the notion of commissioners taking a pay cut as a symbolic gesture about a week ago. He said the amounts he suggested totaled about a 16 percent hit, equating roughly to how much the board may have to cut county spending in the next two years due to falling property tax revenue.

But when the topic came up for discussion during a workshop Wednesday, other commissioners quickly steered the debate in a different direction.

Commissioner Mark Sharpe got County Administrator Pat Bean to acknowledge she is expecting to recommend furloughs for rank-and-file employees next year. She said employees have told her they would prefer them to pay cuts and to lessen the need for layoffs.

Sharpe said commissioners should agree to accept furloughs as well. It makes the cut to commissioners' salaries less arbitrary, he said.

"I think the simple formula is a shared formula," Sharpe said. "It's a symbolic cut but it's substantive."

Other commissioners were quick to applaud Sharpe's idea.

"I was going to the same place," said Commissioner Al Higginbotham, whose own proposal to freeze board salaries two years ago was dismissed by other board members. "Whatever burden county employees have, we're not exempt from that."

Commissioner Kevin White noted that one of the reasons the economy is ailing is that corporate chief executives took care of themselves without regard to people below them.

"Leadership comes from the top," he said. "I think we owe it to the taxpayers and the employees of Hillsborough County."

Bean has previously said she may have to cut as many as 1,000 county jobs to plug a projected $110 million drop in property tax collections due to falling values.

Each furlough day for county employees equates to about $1.1 million in savings. Bean would not say how many furlough days she plans to recommend.

Bill Varian can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3387.

Hillsborough commissioners agree to furlough themselves 04/08/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 9, 2009 12:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun


    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive


    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.