Boynton Beach Manager Falls on Sword – Outrageous Commission Pay Hike His Idea
This week, the Boynton Beach City Commission has been in talks to raise their salaries by an astronomical sum by exploiting a loophole in the system that would bypass the will of the voters and allow the commission to increase their expenses instead of having residents vote on a referendum to increase their salaries. City Manager Dan Dugger, an eighteen-year veteran and captain in the police department, says it was all his idea, even though the commissioners could have chosen not to put this idea on their meeting agenda.
From Florida Jolt articles regarding the salary increases;
Given that the salaries are currently $23,000 a year and the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024 would give each city commissioner about $36,000 more per year, the upset over this is understandable. For the first time, the proposed budget would provide city commissioners a $51,000 car allowance, an office stipend of about $71,000 a year, and a clothing allowance of $17,500 a year – all of which they would split five ways.
As Jack Furnari stated;
In summary, the commissioners earn $23,000 a year and want to give themselves $36,000 in cash and call it expenses. The only legitimate mechanism for City Commissioners in Boynton Beach to get a raise is to have the residents of Boynton vote on it.
Florida Jolt spoke with City Manager Dan Dugger. Dugger is out of the country and had no idea this story had broken. Without hesitation, he took entire responsibility for the salary idea. He would not throw any commissioners under the bus, even though none had opposed the idea.
Dugger had this to say;
This was my idea, not theirs. I’m responsible for this. A special referendum would cost the city upwards of $200k vs. $180k for the raises themselves. I’ve lived in the city for twenty-plus years and felt that if we raised the expense accounts and stipends, maybe it would generate additional candidates to participate in the elections, not just the retired and affluent.
When it was pointed out that none of the commissioners are affluent, all have chosen to serve on the commission, and voters should have the right to make this decision, he said;
Correct, and they (the commissioners) are becoming burnt out. I see them every week, and they work full-time jobs.
They have CRA meetings, Commission meetings, events, agenda reviews, and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
It was my idea to try and let them concentrate on the city, but I can see it backfired terribly, but hindsight is 20/20.
I checked with legal and finance and found that other cities like Wilton Manors, Ft Lauderdale, and Tamarac had stipends and allowances.
That’s where this idea originated. ~City Manager Dan Dugger
Florida Jolt spoke briefly with Mayor Ty Penserga. He seemed surprised that this was on the agenda, and Dugger’s big revelation to Florida Jolt supports this.
No other commissioners have commented thus far. Resident Billy Cunningham, quoted this week as being in favor of a salary increase, told Florida Jolt that he felt that a CBS news clip made it appear that he was against the commissioners getting a raise, which he isn’t. When he expressed this to Commissioner Angela Cruz, she told him he should state his support in a commission meeting held the next day.
Suppose a salary increase goes to a referendum and the voters. In that case, it should be noted that just as the Boca City Council decided to put a term limit extension on that ballot, it was ultimately their decision and vote to do so. The decision to put this on the ballot would be in the hands of the Boynton Commissioners. It should be noted that the only commission member who would not be affected by the outcome of this decision is Mayor Ty Penserga, who is terming out as mayor.
City Manager Dugger is a stand-up guy taking complete responsibility for this. Still, it is important to note that the commissioners decided to discuss this matter. Unless they come forward and personally say they do not think they should increase their expenses for the 2024 budget and they do not believe that taxpayer money should be spent to put a salary raise on the ballot, this decision still falls entirely on them.
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