Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pay cut for Hillsborough commissioners posed

TAMPA — With large-scale layoffs likely at County Center, newly elected Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin Beckner wants the pain to be shared by him and his fellow board members.

Beckner is proposing that commissioners vote themselves a pay cut and look at trimming other benefits, such as their car allowance, for next year.

County Administrator Pat Bean has said she may have to recommend eliminating as many as 1,000 employees to plug a projected $110-million deficit in next year's budget. Commissioners currently make about $92,000 annually and have a $550 monthly car allowance.

Beckner said he thinks commissioners should consider giving themselves at least a 10 percent pay cut.

"No, that won't solve the budget crisis we have, but it's everybody doing their part," Beckner said. "We have to tighten our belts before we ask others to tighten theirs."

He floated this at the end of a budget meeting Tuesday, saying he wants to discuss the idea at the board's next workshop, April 8. His fellow commissioners responded with a stoney silence.

But they shouldn't be surprised that Beckner raised the topic. The Democrat defeated Republican Brian Blair in November, relentlessly attacking him for opposing a similar proposal in July 2007.

In several campaign mailers, Beckner claimed Blair had given himself a pay raise based on his opposition to a pay freeze that year. Blair is now suing Beckner for libel, claiming that the pay raise assertion and others during the campaign were false.

The pay freeze proposal was pushed that year by Republican Al Higginbotham, but he didn't get any support. Blair accused him of trying to take food from his children's mouths.

"I got smacked down," Higginbotham said, adding that he remains supportive of commissioners taking some financial hit, particularly since the economy has gotten much worse since he last broached the idea.

Commissioner Ken Hagan, who instead won support during the 2007 debate for trimming commissioners' car allowances and travel by 10 percent, said he is willing to consider a pay cut and other trims in expenses.

"I'm not opposed to discussing it," he said, adding that any plan ought to be based on what employees are facing, rather than just be a random number.

Commissioners' salaries are set by a state formula that takes into account population and other factors. But the Hillsborough County Charter allows them to cut their salary up to 25 percent.

Bill Varian can be reached at or (813) 226-3387.

Pay cut for Hillsborough commissioners posed 03/31/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lost Highway: As FHP struggles to recruit, speeding tickets plummet

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The number of speeding tickets written by Florida state troopers has plunged three straight years as the agency grapples with a personnel shortage and high turnover.

    A Florida Highway Patrol Academy class in the late 1980s. Typically, graduating classes had about 80 recruits. But the most recent class has less than half that as the agency continues to struggle to fill vacancies. [

Florida: Highway Patrol]
  2. Kidpreneurs — and adults — capitalize on gooey, squishy Slime craze


    First it was Play-Doh. Then Gak. There have been dozens of variations for sale of the oozy, gooey, squishable, stretchable kids' toy through the generations.

    Aletheia Venator and Berlyn Perdomo demonstrate the stretchiness of their slime. - Berlyn Perdomo and her friend, Aletheia Venator, both 13, make and sell slime which can be seen on their instagram site @the.real.slimeshadyy [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. After last year's drug-related deaths, Tampa's Sunset Music Festival says it's stepping up safety, security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Alex Haynes worked three jobs. He had a fiance and an infant son. He owned his own home in Melbourne. Last summer, the 22-year-old attended the Sunset Musical Festival at Raymond James Stadium.

    He left in an ambulance.

    Last year’s Sunset Music Festival was marked by dozens of medical emergencies.
  4. What you need to know for Friday, May 26


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read this morning why Florida's most prized sweet corn is nearly extinct. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. The last farmer of Florida's prized Zellwood corn is thinking of packing it in


    MOUNT DORA — Hank Scott steps out of his pickup between the long rows and snaps off an ear that grows about bellybutton-high on the forehead-high stalks.

    Hank Scott, co-owner of Long and Scott Farms, shucks an ear of corn on the farm in Mount Dora, Fla., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The farm specializes in Scott's Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times