Governments all over the country are slashing their budgets to survive the New Depression. Last month, the city of Pembroke Pines took the drastic step of axing its entire building department -- laying off at least 33 employees, and outsourcing building inspection duties to a private firm. City leaders said the move was justified because of a multimillion-dollar drop in building permit revenues. They're now considering hiking taxes to combat a $39 million budget deficit for the city as a whole.
But here's what city officials chose not to mention: While long-time employees were sacrificed in the name of belt-tightening, City Manager Charles Dodge is still sitting pretty. He and Deputy City Manager Martin Gayeski together earn $755,000 a year, thanks to their own special version of outsourcing.
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Six years ago, Dodge took the unusual step of asking the City Commission to privatize him and Gayeski. They became independent contractors, responsible for paying for their own benefits, cars, and cell phones. At the time, their combined annual salary and benefits packages, as city employees, amounted to a total of $463,765. Now, as Charles F. Dodge LLC, they earn $290,000 more than that, and are contracted to keep earning the higher salary until 2013. (You can check out their contract here.)
One more math lesson for the day: If Dodge and Gayeski divided their pay equally, they each would earn about $377,470 a year. By comparison, Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas has a salary and benefits package that amounts to $317,400.