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Pay cuts coming for top Hernando County employees

BROOKSVILLE — As downsizing of Hernando County government continues, some top staffers will soon see the effects on their paychecks.

At the direction of County Administrator David Hamilton, human resources director Cheryl Marsden has begun working with the county's leadership team on how to rewrite job descriptions and pay scales for department heads who have lost responsibilities in the reorganization.

One of those officials is Pat Fagan, the county's longtime parks and recreation director. His annual pay would drop by $10,000, beginning Oct. 1.

Under the reorganization plan the County Commission approved earlier this year, Fagan's job now is under the Division of Land Services, which is headed up by planning director Ron Pianta.

Fagan's previous responsibilities for overseeing county facilities were transferred to the Division of Transportation Services, headed up by county engineer Charles Mixson.

Other directors whose positions, pay and titles may be affected include Jim Gantt in purchasing, Barbara Shiflett in library services, Don Silvernell at the Hernando County Airport and Stacy Strickland at the county extension service.

George Zoettlein, director of the office of management and budget, has been told his job will be eliminated from the 2010 budget, as will the job of deputy county administrator. Hamilton says he hopes to combine those duties into a chief financial officer position on the leadership team.

Both Zoettlein and deputy administrator Larry Jennings have put their names on the list to take early leave. A total of 56 county employees are on that list, including Fagan and Shiflett. Also on the list are Gregg Sutton, assistant county engineer, and Harry Johnson, recreation manager, two other positions Hamilton has said he wants eliminated in the 2010 budget.

Those on the list have 45 days after signing up to decide whether to follow through with the early leave option.

Marsden said she is basing the recalculations of salaries on existing county policies.

While the county policy on reclassification of employees is unclear, the promotion policy gives department heads the leeway to increase salaries up to 10 percent as employees are moved into higher pay grades, budget permitting.

Using that same logic, jobs that have gone down in pay grade should get reductions by as much as 10 percent, Marsden said. In Fagan's case, that would take his salary down from the current $97,593 to $87,838, which is what will be recommended to the County Commission.

During the reorganization, the policy has also worked in reverse.

When Jean Rags, who heads up Health and Human Services, was given additional responsibilities — including libraries, housing, county extension, animal services and code enforcement — she got a 5 percent bump in her salary in January to $77,357, though that remains at least $15,000 below what other directors make.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Pay cuts coming for top Hernando County employees 08/14/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 14, 2009 5:41pm]
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