BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County supervisor of elections candidate Mark Caskie says setting an example as a fiscally responsible leader should begin with himself.
The Republican hopeful, who faces Shirley Anderson and Jason Yungmann in the Aug. 14 primary, announced Friday that he would volunteer to take a 20 percent pay cut should he win the office.
"It's the right thing to do, in my opinion," Caskie said. "I'll be happy to be the guy who starts the ball rolling."
If elected, Caskie's starting salary would be $102,524. The 20 percent give-back would amount to about two-thirds of the $31,024 that county commissioners recently recommended be shaved from the election supervisor's budget next year.
Caskie earns $31,949 a year as Brooksville's code enforcement officer, according to his financial statement filed with the elections office. He also collects $24,384 a year in military retirement and $19,224 in veterans disability pay.
Caskie said that the promise of returning part of his salary to the public coffers is more than just an attention-grabbing stunt.
"I know it's not likely to end the county's financial problems," he said, "but I think it shows that once I am in office, I will look hard for ways to find savings wherever they are."
Although Anderson said she hadn't seen Caskie's announcement, she dismissed the gesture as "a last-minute attempt to sway votes."
She said balancing the office's budget requires someone who is willing to put proficiency before politics.
"I think the taxpayers want someone in the job who will take a line-by-line approach to saving them money," Anderson said.
Yungmann could not be reached for comment Friday.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Elizabeth Towsend, the director of operations for the Supervisor of Elections Office, in the November general election.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or email@example.com.