Pembroke Pines City Manager Charlie Dodge, whose private company earns $755,000 a year from the city, has offered to take a 2.6 percent pay cut next year, in deference to the Broward suburb's dire financial straits.
That's the word from Pines Mayor Frank Ortis and Vice Mayor Angelo Castillo, both of whom say Dodge informed them of his decision. (Dodge has not responded to interview requests from The Juice).
It's quite a sacrifice, this $20,000 pay cut. Especially when you consider the 84 city employees who were laid off this year, the police and firefighters who have been asked to take pension cuts, and the countless Pines residents who may have to pay higher taxes despite the plummeting value of their homes.
"I think it's very good," says Ortis, who points out that Dodge splits his salary with his deputy, Martin Gayeski. "I've known Mr. Dodge for a long time, think he's a great city manager."
But not everyone is so cheerful. Castillo says he voted against renewing Dodge's contract last year -- "I thought it was way too much money"-- and is still convinced that the city of 150,000 people could save by cutting back on compensation to top administrators.
In addition to his salary, Dodge receives health insurance and pension benefits from the city, because he retired as a longtime employee before getting rehired as a privately-contracted manager in 2003. By comparison, Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas has a salary and benefits package that amounts to $317,400.
A final public hearing on Pembroke Pines' proposed tax rate and budget -- including Dodge's salary cut -- is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 10100 Pines Boulevard.