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Highest Paid City Officials

In this piece we take a look at some of the top wage earners employed by the City of Jacksonville.

Published August 8, 2013 in News      39 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article




4. Valerie Josephine Rao
Medical Examiner's Office
District Chief Medical Examiner
$190,172.64

The Jacksonville's Medical Examiner's office is an intra-governmental department under the authority of the state of Florida but mostly funded by the county (Fl. Statute 406.06). There are 24 districts in the state of Florida.

Rao, like most in higher positions of government, is not unscathed by complaints. MetroJacksonville.com's news partner produced a segment about the issues surrounding Rao. Watch it here.


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3. Jesse C Giles
Medical Examiner's Office
Associate Medical Examiner
$190,172.64



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39 Comments

aubureck

August 08, 2013, 08:27:13 AM
Is it just me or should the "highest" paid position in the city be the mayor (Im not saying he needs to give himself a giant raise).  All of his support staff should be paid below him.

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 08:40:03 AM
^Ideally no, because then you may have people running for the money, not the interest of serving the public.

BTW, JEA has 4 employees that would be on this list, 13 making over $150k, and roughly 225 that made over $100k last year (including OT and bonuses).

TheCat

August 08, 2013, 09:33:08 AM
@citylife, the list includes only employees paid directly by the city.

So, JEA, JTA, JaxPort, School Board...etc are not included in the list.

TheCat

August 08, 2013, 09:34:35 AM
The mayor is the 19th highest paid employee.

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 09:39:23 AM
@citylife, the list includes only employees paid directly by the city.

So, JEA, JTA, JaxPort, School Board...etc are not included in the list.

Yea I know, was just pointing it out. That is where some of the shocking public salaries come from.

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 09:48:21 AM
Also worth pointing out that there are 17 attorney's at OGC that make over $100k and I believe there are a total of >30 attorney's at OGC. Attorney's play a bigger role in government than people realize and can be very valuable, but it does seem like we are heavily staffed there, especially in relation to a lot of other city departments.

coredumped

August 08, 2013, 11:51:02 AM
No one should make in the 6 figures. Especially when you include all the holidays they get.

John P

August 08, 2013, 11:52:44 AM
Alan Verlander makes a lot of money for that kind of job.

MEGATRON

August 08, 2013, 12:08:25 PM
No one should make in the 6 figures. Especially when you include all the holidays they get.
Have fun trying to hire competent folks away from private companies with this policy.

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 12:59:17 PM
No one should make in the 6 figures. Especially when you include all the holidays they get.
Have fun trying to hire competent folks away from private companies with this policy.

...Or keeping anyone with any talent/knowledge away from the private sector.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

August 08, 2013, 01:03:47 PM
No one should make in the 6 figures. Especially when you include all the holidays they get.
Have fun trying to hire competent folks away from private companies with this policy.

...Or keeping anyone with any talent/knowledge away from the private sector.

Funny?!?  I don't think I remember anyone on this board calling most (if any) of the people mentioned talented or knowledgeable. 

I guess we're not spending enough.

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 01:08:45 PM
No one should make in the 6 figures. Especially when you include all the holidays they get.
Have fun trying to hire competent folks away from private companies with this policy.

...Or keeping anyone with any talent/knowledge away from the private sector.

Funny?!?  I don't think I remember anyone on this board calling most (if any) of the people mentioned talented or knowledgeable. 

I guess we're not spending enough.

This board has done job evaluations for every COJ employee that makes over $100k? News to me....

stephendare

August 08, 2013, 01:12:42 PM
No one should make in the 6 figures. Especially when you include all the holidays they get.

because?

Non-RedNeck Westsider

August 08, 2013, 01:19:00 PM
No one should make in the 6 figures. Especially when you include all the holidays they get.
Have fun trying to hire competent folks away from private companies with this policy.

...Or keeping anyone with any talent/knowledge away from the private sector.

Funny?!?  I don't think I remember anyone on this board calling most (if any) of the people mentioned talented or knowledgeable. 

I guess we're not spending enough.

This board has done job evaluations for every COJ employee that makes over $100k? News to me....

We evaluate the jobs they do almost daily, don't we? 

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 01:30:46 PM
^LOL. Who is we? The general public who occasionally read a news article or see them make a presentation? There are probably >100 COJ employees making north of $100k. Do you know all these people? Do you know how stressful their job is? What their job opportunities are like outside of COJ? What their day to day job is like? I may occasionally offer a criticscm about Laquidara or some other COJ employee on here, but without having a birds eye view, I'm sure as heck not going to get into a debate about what their fair market value is. Typically a position is given a salary relative to the fair market value of similar positions in comparable municiplaities. That's not something an anonymous poster on an internet message board has a clue about...

That said, I absolutely think there should be trimming of the fat within COJ, but having worked in government, the fat is usually in the lower and mid levels, while those in management carry the load and pressure.

stephendare

August 08, 2013, 01:36:24 PM
No one should make in the 6 figures. Especially when you include all the holidays they get.
Have fun trying to hire competent folks away from private companies with this policy.

...Or keeping anyone with any talent/knowledge away from the private sector.

Funny?!?  I don't think I remember anyone on this board calling most (if any) of the people mentioned talented or knowledgeable. 

I guess we're not spending enough.

This board has done job evaluations for every COJ employee that makes over $100k? News to me....

We evaluate the jobs they do almost daily, don't we?

Pretty much.  If City Life paid closer attention you probably wouldnt have to tell him that. ;)

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 01:42:46 PM
Quick Stephen, please tell me the salaries of the head attorney for Charlotte, Tampa, Nashville, etc? How about their Public Works Director and so on....

Non-RedNeck Westsider

August 08, 2013, 01:48:09 PM
Let's back up a second.  You started with:

...Or keeping anyone with any talent/knowledge away from the private sector.

as a comment meant to justify the pay they're receiving.  Right?

Well, in the private sector, if you don't perform up to your billing, you're typically let go and replaced.  Is that the case with city employees?  Has the mayor done the job he said he would?  Has Laquadaria (sic) performed to her level of pay?  Why should we, the board, both literally and figuratively, be burdened with this seemingly incompetence for 4 years at a click. 

I'm neither justifying or arguing against their pay levels.  What I'm tired of hearing is the comparison with 'private sector' v/s 'public sector'.  What ever happened to civic duty?  People want to bitch about budgets, pensions and medical coverage, but the most basic answer that I can offer is that the city government is operating exactly like a private company with zero accountability...  well, not zero, but after 4 years or 8 years or whatever, it's not their problem anymore and they can move on. 

stephendare

August 08, 2013, 01:50:39 PM
Quick Stephen, please tell me the salaries of the head attorney for Charlotte, Tampa, Nashville, etc? How about their Public Works Director and so on....

only if you tell me the average rainfall of the amazon basin, the expected wheat returns for the next two decades of the argentine agribusiness conglomerates and how best to seduce a college film student at the Sorbonne when the only language you have in common is amharic.

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 01:54:45 PM
140 inches a year. 72 Argentine Peso's per bushel. Ask her to watch Amelie at your place.....

Non-RedNeck Westsider

August 08, 2013, 01:56:25 PM
140 inches a year. 72 Argentine Peso's per bushel. Ask her to watch Amelie at your place.....

Hahahahaha.....

Google

Magic Eight Ball

Experience? 

Nice.

thelakelander

August 08, 2013, 01:56:59 PM
LMAO!

stephendare

August 08, 2013, 01:59:43 PM
140 inches a year. 72 Argentine Peso's per bushel. Ask her to watch Amelie at your place.....

a. true.
b. not even close.
c.  meh.  maybe.  qualified yes.  Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.  He might like vintage french cinema, but a little tej goes a long way.  A lot of tej might even make amelie watchable!

JayBird

August 08, 2013, 02:01:00 PM
140 inches a year. 72 Argentine Peso's per bushel. Ask her to watch Amelie at your place.....

Kudos, that was a good one. Well played gentleman, well played.

stephendare

August 08, 2013, 02:02:12 PM
140 inches a year. 72 Argentine Peso's per bushel. Ask her to watch Amelie at your place.....

Kudos, that was a good one. Well played gentleman, well played.

He has real moments, ive reluctantly found. ;)

CityLife

August 08, 2013, 02:02:22 PM
Let's back up a second.  You started with:

...Or keeping anyone with any talent/knowledge away from the private sector.

as a comment meant to justify the pay they're receiving.  Right?

Well, in the private sector, if you don't perform up to your billing, you're typically let go and replaced.  Is that the case with city employees?  Has the mayor done the job he said he would?  Has Laquadaria (sic) performed to her level of pay?  Why should we, the board, both literally and figuratively, be burdened with this seemingly incompetence for 4 years at a click. 

I'm neither justifying or arguing against their pay levels.  What I'm tired of hearing is the comparison with 'private sector' v/s 'public sector'.  What ever happened to civic duty?  People want to bitch about budgets, pensions and medical coverage, but the most basic answer that I can offer is that the city government is operating exactly like a private company with zero accountability...  well, not zero, but after 4 years or 8 years or whatever, it's not their problem anymore and they can move on.

I'm totally with you on the accountability thing...I'm really just addressing the poster that said that no city employees should make more than $100k. I've got to run to a meeting, but I'll try and touch on how much it would hurt COJ to not be competitive in the pay market later.

stephendare

August 08, 2013, 02:06:57 PM
Quote
I'm really just addressing the poster that said that no city employees should make more than $100k. I've got to run to a meeting, but I'll try and touch on how much it would hurt COJ to not be competitive in the pay market later.

on this, we totally agree, btw.

m74reeves

August 08, 2013, 02:07:33 PM
Also worth pointing out that there are 17 attorney's at OGC that make over $100k and I believe there are a total of >30 attorney's at OGC. Attorney's play a bigger role in government than people realize and can be very valuable, but it does seem like we are heavily staffed there, especially in relation to a lot of other city departments.

Several department heads are also lawyers...

Carla Miller, Ethics office
Cleveland Ferguson, Mayor's Deputy Admin Officer
Terrance Ashanta Barker, Community Development
Alexis Lambert, Public Accountability

any others? there certainly is a high %age of lawyers on staff

Cheshire Cat

August 08, 2013, 05:03:15 PM
Good article and one that I am glad to see presented.  Understanding who is being paid to do what and how much in this city is a very important thing.  Two things just to add to the facts.  John Germany has left the employment of the City.  Carla Miller, the City Ethics Director is not among the top paid.  Her pay is in the area of 60K.  She is grossly underpaid and does the work she does because of a sense of responsibility to the people of Jacksonville.  Many don't know that she is considered a worldwide expert on Ethics and her job is perhaps one of the most difficult in the city.

There are some members in the mayor's administration that are worrisome to me, not because of their pay rate but rather because of their political connections and corporate mentality which may not be representative of the feelings and desires of local taxpayers. 

There are also some superfluous positions in the Mayors administration which while not on the list are expenditures that are to my view without true merit beyond looking good.  For instance former senator Tony Hill.  What does he do?  Anyone?  How about the 60k figure sports guy who the mayor hired after taking a private plane trip to one of his functions?  Or how about the "education" czar who is basically a redundant show piece of the mayor who is now another person to negotiate around for the true Duval County School Board. Or there is that personal photographer and extra body guard.  This is this type of thing that gets under the skin of taxpayers.  It is really waste where there should be none.

MEGATRON

August 08, 2013, 05:59:39 PM
Quick Stephen, please tell me the salaries of the head attorney for Charlotte, Tampa, Nashville, etc? How about their Public Works Director and so on....
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/29/94573/city-of-charlotte-salary-database.html?appSession=95960563685545&RecordID=&PageID=2&PrevPageID=2&cpipage=1&CPIsortType=asc&CPIorderby=Annual

JayBird

August 08, 2013, 06:08:53 PM
Also worth pointing out that there are 17 attorney's at OGC that make over $100k and I believe there are a total of >30 attorney's at OGC. Attorney's play a bigger role in government than people realize and can be very valuable, but it does seem like we are heavily staffed there, especially in relation to a lot of other city departments.

Several department heads are also lawyers...

Carla Miller, Ethics office
Cleveland Ferguson, Mayor's Deputy Admin Officer
Terrance Ashanta Barker, Community Development
Alexis Lambert, Public Accountability

any others? there certainly is a high %age of lawyers on staff

I tend to think lawyers and politics go hand in hand, all they way back to the beginnings of this country.

Cheshire Cat

August 08, 2013, 06:11:56 PM
JayBird, did you read my above post about Carla and what she is paid?  She certainly does not belong in the overpaid category.  Of the many attorneys I have know working within city government, she would have to be one with the greatest integrity in office that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  ;)

JayBird

August 08, 2013, 06:14:35 PM
Yes I did, and agreed with your post. I was just merely pointing out that in my opinion no matter where you look in city, state, national politics you'll find a high amount of lawyers. Kind of like saying a lot of doctors work in a hospital.

m74reeves

August 08, 2013, 06:19:07 PM
JayBird, did you read my above post about Carla and what she is paid?  She certainly does not belong in the overpaid category.  Of the many attorneys I have know working within city government, she would have to be one with the greatest integrity in office that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  ;)

he was reacting to CityLife's and my posts about the plethora of attorneys on staff in the City. i was not singling these people out b/c of their pay or saying they're unqualified.

just another interesting fact to look at in addition to people's salaries.

Cheshire Cat

August 08, 2013, 06:27:12 PM
:)  I hear you guys.  I have a soft spot for Carla because she has fought so long and hard for ethics in this city and much of her battles are unknown to the citizens.  I knew what you were saying in your posts, just wanted folks to know that she is paid little for all that she does.  Just a wonderful woman.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

August 08, 2013, 06:35:46 PM
:)  I hear you guys.  I have a soft spot for Carla because she has fought so long and hard for ethics in this city and of her battles are unknown to the citizens.  I knew what you were saying in your posts, just wanted folks to know that she is paid little for all that she does.  Just a wonderful woman.

One would assume that it may be a touch of that 'civic pride' that I mentioned a few posts ago.   

Cheshire Cat

August 08, 2013, 06:44:54 PM
:)  I hear you guys.  I have a soft spot for Carla because she has fought so long and hard for ethics in this city and of her battles are unknown to the citizens.  I knew what you were saying in your posts, just wanted folks to know that she is paid little for all that she does.  Just a wonderful woman.

One would assume that it may be a touch of that 'civic pride' that I mentioned a few posts ago.   
Tis indeed.  :)

Steve

August 08, 2013, 10:47:25 PM
Seriously, I always wonder what would happen if city government paid every single person a peasant's wage. What doctor would work for the Medical Examiner's office? Good luck trying to get a person to spend a decade in school, get a ton of student loan debt, to come work for nothing?

Plus, if there's one thing that the IT field and city government have in common, it's that the boss doesn't always make the top salary. That happens a lot in IT, because if you need someone on your team with a technical specialty, the market might say this person makes X, even if you make X-10%.
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