Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon finally got the raise he’s been pushing for since last year, his first in eight years. He’s been Palm Coast’s manager for 10 years.
The city council this evening unanimously agreed to a $6,700 raise for Landon, raising his pay 4 percent to $175,600. The council also awarded him a 1 percent automatic annual raise through 2021, unless the council intervenes either to give him less or more, following a September evaluation.
The base pay does not include Landon’s additional deferred and defined compensation, and car allowance, which adds $51,100 to the package, for a total compensation of $226,700. The sum does not include health premiums the city pays for. Nor does it reflect the six-month severance package in Landon’s contract. The contract itself is unchanged, except for its amendments. Had the council chosen to re-negotiate the contract, it would then have had to comply with a state law in place since 2011 that limits all public employees’ severance packages to 20 weeks.
The vote came at the end of an hour’s discussion of the council, including public comment from eight residents who split their opinions between those favoring a raise and those not.
Mayor Milissa Holland took to Landon’s defense, describing the city as very well run and at one point alluding to her six years as a county commissioner for comparison’s sake. “I’m not going to say anything disparaging about the county,” she said, and in the same breath—or the same sentence—did just that, adding, “but it is night and day.”
“I have confidence that the city is in good hands, he has my support,” the mayor said.
Council members Steven Nobile and Heidi Shipley at one point were ready to delay approval of the raise, pending further research and answers to questions they had. Nobile is especially concerned about the severance package, which awards Landon a base of 26 weeks, not including the benefits and personal leave he’s accumulated. He is awarded 30 days of personal leave every year, and required to use only 10 of those days a year. Depending on how many he’s used above that 10-day minimum, he could have potentially accrued some 200 days of personal leave, the equivalent of 40 weeks, which would be added to his severance. In essence, Landon likely has the equivalent of well above a year’s severance, and counting: those days keep accruing every year.
Those numbers were not presented during the discussion.
Two members of the public who addressed the council asked for specifics about Landon’s benefits and total compensation package. Holland asked him to elaborate on the point.
As has repeatedly been the case with Landon over the years, he was his own worst enemy, clouding his undisputed skills as a manager with a tone seemingly deaf to lesser mortals’ concerns and typical salaries while skirting contempt for questions probing the fine print of an extremely generous contract.
Remarkably, he described his benefits package as “similar to the other employees, there’s health insurance, retirement, I do have the car allowance.” He never mentioned the amounts the city pays in addition to his salary for his defined and deferred compensation plans. “I may be missing something, that’s my benefits package,” he said.
He conceded that with his six months’ severance, there’s vacation days not taken, and said “it’s substantial,” but never gave an actual figure. Nor did council members ask for the details. “Severance is basically six months of my salary plus my benefits package,” Landon said, though after he offered a defense of his severance by describing how it affords people in his position the time to look for a job after being potentially fired by any new council, council member Heidi Shipley reminded him: “Florida, right to work state, all of us, tomorrow, we can get fired.”
Nobile, along with council members Nick Klufas and Bob Cuff, defended the raise based on their own research that showed Landon’s salary to be closer to the median rather than the extremes, for a city of Palm Coast’s size and its number of employees (about 450, including its utility department).
And it was Cuff who in the end provided the sort of compromise that won over any reluctance to vote for the raise this evening, offering the limit on automatic future raises to 1 percent. He did so only after noting in comments prefatory to his motion that he was not making a judgment on Landon’s personality, which he candidly–explicitly–said had rubbed him the wrong way on some occasions.
“For tonight and for the amount of the requested increase, I’m prepared to support an increase,” Cuff said. “Whether you like Jim Landon or you hate Jim Landon, and I’ve had moments–I wouldn’t say I’ve hated him, but he certainly has kind of chapped my you-know-what like a snow cone about this tall. But I don’t think that’s the issue. I think the issue is that we need to evaluate what the position is worth and from what I have seen both as a citizen and admittedly only for a few months as a city council member, it’s a job that not many people could do.”
Cuff called the pay package “in line with the responsibilities of that job.”
Landon’s comments never swerved past the minimum he did say about his contract or the pay raise he was requesting–until the very end of the meeting, when he said, simply: “Thank you for the kind comments and the consideration on the salary.”
Angelo Alberty says
Who pass that one cost of living isn’t even close to that like to see who approved
Kristan Mayer says
He make 3x more then residents that live and work in Palm Coast!! Who ever voted that increase needs to also bring jobs to palm coast that pay!!
Dave Stallman says
Wow you are paying yourselves very handsomely
Al Poirier says
He went into public service to do good, and he’s done very well indeed!
Laura Howell says
It’s our own fault. What did we do to stop it? BTW the average US salary for a city manager is $118,000.
Cheryll Quilliam Stewart says
It is time we find out who approved this and see that they are not reelected
Diana Becker LeBrun says
It was a unanimous vote by the city council members.
Jenni Parker Marshall-Negron says
we should put them on salery pay and we vote if they get the raise. bet things would straighten out.
Little old PC manager paid about the same as a US Senator. No wonder he’s so happy.
South Florida says
I don’t agree with this decision.
Gayle Ford says
His benefits package is over and beyond
His severance pay is 6 weeks more than required
His annual accruals of days not used? Companies do not let you carry over more than so many days and most require you to use or loose
In addition look at salary and benefits he’s being paid as much as Vice President of US
Yes this salary is way out of control plus automatic increases every year
Hum we certainly are living over our budget for one persons salary
Diana Becker LeBrun says
The time to complain was before the vote and not on FB. Although it makes us feel good, maybe? We should be going to our city council meetings.
I wonder what the big shit eating grin is for?
Emily Cortes-Torrado says
Really? Disappointed that the Mayor saw this as acceptable. Teachers in this County barely make $50,000. They are supposed to be working with our future. How is this City Manager worth a quarter of a million dollars a year? Ughhh!!!
Chris Adkins says
Two different worlds.its getting crowded at the bottom
Dave Wettlaufer says
I think I’m moving
For a Town like this way over compensated. Fix the roads, sync the lights,fix the road hazards, stop the sprawl DO something. Get the criminals off the Street, have a plan not a pipedream for you.
Tony Benvenuto says
I’ve been teaching for 11 years in this county and making $41,000 and can’t afford insurance for my family.
Vote every incumbent out who voted for the merit less and unwarranted increase. This is a slap in the face of every taxpayer in Palm Coast.
Gwen Dolina says
deplorable.. what about people that really can’t make ends meet.
Matthew Oliveira says
I don’t know who this Landon is, but it’s really a shame that this money couldn’t go toward funding our school. Giving teachers a raise or even bonuses on holidays. Teachers work hard everyday to sculpt the future of your children and honestly, I feel like teachers get the least respect.
Skip Walls says
And whose fault is this? You get what you accept.
steve miller says
David Schaefer says
Total B.S. the old mayor and the city council did this!!!
Mary Lynn Crosby says
Gee, this poor man needed a raise??? Seriously??? Another politician only out for themselves.
John Yankovich says
Another example of the arrogance of power and OPM. Who except the elite get the better part of years severance! Landon gets more than 20% of his salary into his retirement. Who gets that! This from a city manager who went against a public referendum for a new city hall and the Holland Park debacle. Guess this is the high price you pay for incompetence!!! Fire him!
Mr Nobile clearly indicated to me that he would work to remove Landon and now he pushes for a raise for the man? So much for campaign promises. This is a clear case of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. $150000 tops for city manager. At some point, the feds will be back for another chit chat as Jim called it and the whole house of cards will collapse. Remember this when these council members come up for re-election.
Enery Hodge-Booker says
What a shame!!! That raise belongs to teachers at least :(
Heading North says
Just confirms my theory!
The City commission is no smarter than they were 10 years ago!!!!
PC Citizen says
He is being paid way too much given what the average working person makes here.
What has he done to help bring jobs with a living wage to the people of the city?
Steven Nobile says
I really try not to engage on this type of platform, but since none of you ever show up at a council meeting and make your thoughts clear and known I have no choice. First I never made a campaign promise to remove the City Manager unless the accusations stated to me about corruption proved to be true. There is no corruption in the City of Palm Coast. A bad decision here and there (very few though) is about it. Many of you hide behind a pseudonym and take shots at us that are trying to make things better for all of Palm Coast I just want to tell you that it doesn’t help anyone but it sure hurts all of us..
Had you been at the City Council meeting last night or even taken the time to watch or listen to the meeting you would have heard the arguments for the raise which are based on facts not accusations. I am open to hear conversations on any matter but honestly, threats to not vote for me at the next election, if I even run, do not get my attention.
Please email me at [email protected] and we can setup a conversation via phone or face-to-face. That gets my attention and the subject is up to you.
I will not be responding to anything else on this post so if you want me to hear something you have to say email me…Thank You
Howard Duley says
And just what does this doofus do for me and PC in general besides warming his seat?
I hate politicians they are the epitome of slime. By the way Tristan you never got back to me
about the hit and run on Old Kings North.
Quick answer? Fire all the bureaucrats and quadruple the salaries of the police, firefighters, and trash pick up folks. Do we need anyone else?
The President of the United States of America makes $ 469,000 total compensation for his services. Broken down he makes $ 400,000 Salary, $100,000 nontaxable travel account, $ 50,000 annual expense account, and $19,000 for entertainment. You folks in Palm Coast could pony up another $ 246,000 and hire some real world class talent like ex President Obama or President Trump when his term in office is over, and get somebody who has managed our nation’s affairs. You are already paying Landon 48% of what a president makes now. Just Saying!
Somebody please tell me what specail projects he has accomplished, somebody please tell me the numbers on his benefits,
Not one question was answered last night ,health benefits not even close to employees,retirement not even Close to employees.maybe he does a good job ,maybe average,council personally I believe you failed he’s got you under his thumb should’ve waited reviewed contract
Congrats Jim, you make more than the City Manager of Miami!
Dear Steve Nobile,
I respectfully disagree with your assertion that “this type of platform” is not valuable to you. Although many who comment here do not do so using their full names, my suggestion is that all of our leaders should monitor “Flagler Live”. . . articles and reactions. . . as a general barometer of your constituents’ opinion on the topics covered by one of the few remaining local news sources. Not everyone can get to city and county meetings, or articulate their complete thinking in a 2 minute telephone conversation.
I actually believe that the majority of those documenting their thoughts here, are assuming that our political leaders are astute and caring enough that they have already been doing so. . . on a regular basis. This is the 21st century, and this form of communication creates a natural public forum for the airing of views on a variety of issues. Shouldn’t you be proactively seeking the input of your constituents in every reasonable way?
Well, complainers, you did vote for an all-Republican council. Wait and see what the all-Republican county commission does to you.
Republican’s should I say more !!!!!!!!!!!!!
We need a law no public employee can make more than 2 times average resident salary, and a pension like most younger people…. ZERO and a BK Social Security. Then they would get some high paying jobs real quick,,,
For all the complainers….if you don’t like paying this man the big bucks why do you keep voting in council members and a mayor who support this and spend your tax dollars in a way you don’t think is right and think the man is paid too much. It takes a fool to approve wages like this knowing we already pay the county administrator Craig Coffey and County Attorney Albert Hadeed for 20% of county business…this is a duplication of services….two managers, two government legal cost.