Police, Fire Collect Biggest Largo Chunk of Benefit Compensation
By Leo Coughlin
LARGO - "Generous" is a theme running through the Largo government these days.
A look at the city's outlay of more than $51 million (about a third of the general fund) for personnel costs illustrates the generosity glaringly.
The revelation three weeks ago of the huge compensation packages paid to top Largo city employees opened the door on more revelations, including the double dipping in a retirement scheme, and the quarter of a million dollars or so being paid to an assistant city manager and his wife.
An examination of the whole compensation picture in Largo, including all employees, shows that Largo's citizens are paying about $700 a head for city employees, approximately one-third of city government cost.
Benefits paid to city employees as a percentage of total compensation average 35.8 percent across the board, with the police and fire departments (both operating with union negotiated contracts) getting a whopping 47.47 percent and 48.57 percent, respectively, in benefits.
Other city employees who are members of a union called Communication Workers of America are at the 32 percent level in benefits, just below the category called professional and technical (non-union) which has 33.07 percent in benefits.
That group of employees numbers 169 and has an average compensation of $61,187.
The lowest group in benefit percentage as part of the compensation package are the 13 highest paid executives in the city, whose compensation averages $145,916.
Highest paid in that group is an assistant city manager, Henry Schubert, whose total compensation is $171,593. He makes more than his boss, City Manager Norton Craig, who gets $170,946. On top of that, Schubert's wife, Dorothy, is on the Largo payroll at a $71,385 salary.
The top executives get 26.42 percent in benefits and the next highest pay group, "operating management," which numbers 52 employees and which averages $93,363 in compensation, gets 27.48 percent in benefits.
A breakdown of the figures shows the 234 highest paid Largo employees getting 33 percent of the $51,528,539 total personnel cost (not counting money paid to retirees). The other 567 workers share $34,436,152.
The non-union categories average $73,044 in compensation while union employees average $60,733 overall. The average compensation, top to bottom, in Largo is $64,330. The biggest category of employees, those in the CWA union, average $45,401, considerably below the overall city average ($1,237 a week to $873 a week).
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