Top Largo Employees Get Paid Big Dollars
By Leo Coughlin
LARGO - In the unlikely event that Henry Schubert, Largo assistant city manager, were to be promoted into his boss's job at the same salary Norton Craig is now getting, Schubert would have to take a pay cut.
Correct. Schubert appears to be the highest paid regular employee in Largo at $171,593 per annum.
That's $647 more than Craig, his boss, is paid.
In the even more unlikely event that Schubert were to move over to Clearwater to take City Manager Bill Horne's job at the salary Horne is now reportedly getting Shubert would take a $2,961 pay cut.
Horne is paid $168,632.36 and Clearwater is 45 percent greater in population (and consequent services, etc.) than Largo.
In Tampa, a city 4.5 times larger than Largo, Mayor Pam Iorio, who is the top executive, is paid $149,000, $20,947 less than what Craig, Largo's top executive, gets.
Mayor Bill Foster of St. Petersburg, a city with a population 3.4 times larger than Largo's, is paid $158,355, $12,591 less than Craig's annual salary.
It appears Henry Schubert is one of highest - if not the highest - paid city officials in the area.
An examination of salaries paid in Largo reveals a city of great largesse and generosity.
People are paid big money, that is indisputable, and it all comes from the hard earned money in the pockets of taxpayers.
One key question is how the salaries scheme in Largo came about. Who established the scales?
Over the years, no member of the City Commission has ever raised the question of staff salaries in the city. No single member has ever asked, "What do our salaries look like? What are we paying people?"
In the City Manager's office alone - CM, two assistant CMs, assistant to the CM, executive secretary - salaries come to $578,875. Add in the benefits and you're talking about real money in a small city like Largo.
In one of the great ironies in Largo, good hearted and decent citizens are turning to volunteer work to keep open some parks and facilities.
While they agree to work for nothing, the director of Recreation, Parks and Arts, Joan Byrne, is paid $2,478 a week, more than three times what the median household income in Largo is.
At $128,880 a year, Byrne is the fourth highest paid Largo employee.
Schubert tops the list with Craig second at $170,946, followed by Mike Staffopoulos, another assistant city manager, at $129,880.
It could be stated as an axiom that if you work for Largo you are well paid.
Also axiomatic is that there seems to be no correlation between job responsibility and salary.
For example, Brandon Graham, who is the supervisor of the city's television station, needs a background in sophisticated technology and must meet deadlines as a producer, is paid $54,230, while an assistant to the city manager, Jonathan Evans, is paid $11,648 more, at $65,878, in a job with - it would seem - far less crucial responsibility.
The anomalies are all over the place. Casey McPhee, the Largo Library director, is paid $103,360 a year, just $3,921 less than what Police Chief John Carroll, at $107,281, makes and $5,845 less than what Mike Wallace, the fire chief, at $109,205, is paid.
Needless to say, both Wallace and Carroll are in charge of crucial departments with many employees and complications.
While it is obvious that there are back-up jobs that are essential - vice president of the U.S. is an example - there is a question why, in Largo, Bob Klute, the assistant development director, is paid a whopping $95,933.
His boss, Carol Stricklin, is on the payroll for $115,896.
Don Brannon, director of the Largo Golf Course, a demonstrated losing proposition, is paid $74,118 a year.
Another high paid employee, with a salary seemingly out of proportion with the job function, is Susan Hasen-Sinz, Human Relations director. Human Relations is the grandiose term for what used to be called, in sensible days, the personnel department.
Because of the proliferation of technology, the word in the private sector is that those skilled in information technology abound. Harold Schomaker, Largo's IT director, is paid $118,237, a price one knowledgeable about that field said could pay for two IT directors.
In all, 13 employees in Largo are paid $100,000 or more. All department heads make more than $100,000.
There is no record of any review (or knowledge of, for that matter) of municipal staff salaries by the governing body, the City Commission, ultimately responsible for the spending of all taxpayer money.
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