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Flagler Commission Signs Contract Worth $237,000 With Interim Administrator Cameron

| February 25, 2019

Jerry Cameron is now Flagler's interim administrator, following Craig Coffey. (© FlaglerLive)

Jerry Cameron is now Flagler’s interim administrator, following Craig Coffey. (© FlaglerLive)

The Flagler County Commission this morning approved a contract with Interim Administrator Jerry Cameron for an annualized salary of $160,000 and a total cost to taxpayers of $237,000.

The contract value is comparable to that of ex-Administrator Craig Coffey, whose compensation was $247,400. The $10,000 difference comes down to Cameron opting out of the county’s health insurance system, though in net monetary benefits, Cameron comes out ahead by about $8,500.

Cameron’s package includes more than double the $400-a-month car allowance Coffey received. Cameron’s allowance is $1,000 a month. He lives 30 miles north of Bunnell, in St. Johns County, and will remain there for the duration of his interim term, expected to stretch several months, until the commission names a permanent administrator. That search is in its infancy.

“It was actually suggested to me, I don’t know where it came from, in lieu of increased salary and so forth,” Cameron said, citing two reasons for the higher car allowance: the first is that he expects he’ll have to do a lot of driving on the job. The second is that since he won’t be relocating, he’ll have a lot of driving back and forth to and from work–and won’t be costing the county a relocation allowance.

Cameron is also getting 23 days of personal leave, also on an annualized basis. Each day’s value is $615, for a total value of $14,155. He will receive 4.45 percent of his salary in deferred compensation, or $7,120 if he stays a year.

The county is contributing $12,240 for his social security and Medicare costs, as it is legally required to as an employer, and an additional $31,282 to the Florida Retirement System. Since Cameron is not enrolled in FRS, he will not be accruing benefits in that regard, though the cost to taxpayers remains the same.

In sum, Cameron’s actual compensation package, excluding Social Security, medicare and FRS costs, totals $193,275, or $8,500 more than Coffey’s actual compensation package (but almost even when Coffey’s health benefit is included).

“I did ask staff to work on a little spreadsheet that basically goes line by line and compares this offer to what we were paying Mr. Coffey, our prior administrator,” Commission Chairman Don O’Brien said, “so that there’s complete transparency, there’s no question as to where all these numbers are coming from, how they were arrived at., and how they compare to what our commitment was in the past.”

Cameron worked on the contract with County Attorney Al Hadeed. Laurie Bailey Brown and Human Resources Director Pamela Wu also worked on the contract. “This follows the general template that has been used by the county for administrator contracts,” Hadeed said.

The $31,282 county payment to FRS is required by law, an amount “for which he receives absolutely no benefit,” Hadeed said. “It’s the FRS system of collecting some funds of everybody on our payroll regardless of whether they are eligible to participate in FRS.” In fact, Cameron is benefiting, since he is an FRS beneficiary: he was in the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, requiring him to retire from his previous county job in September 2015, when he could benefit from a large payout under DROP rules and subsequent retirement benefits that continue. The county’s contribution to FRS goes into the pool of dollars that helps pay for those benefits. On top of that, he is getting the $7,120 in deferred compensation from the county, which amounts to an additional retirement benefit.

“In dealing with Mr. Cameron I was very much cognizant of and integrated it into my work that he has 28 years of public service experience,” Hadeed said, citing his experience as city manager at Fernandina Beach, a deputy administrator for St. Johns County, an appointed sheriff in South Carolina and a police chief in Fernandina Beach, “all features of his professional career that I believe support the employment agreement.”

The contract makes him eligible for a raise equivalent in percentage to the inflation rate, or consumer price index (CPI) published on March 1. But that potential raise will not kick in until March 1, 2020, assuming Cameron is still in Flagler. “The CPI adjustment does not occur this coming March 1,” Hadeed said, “but rather a year from now.” The contract as previously drafted was not as clear on that account but was made clearer in the contract’s final form (see below).

Once Hadeed outlined the contract to the commissioners, they moved to adopt it and one of them wondered if Cameron wanted to weigh in. He’d been silent until then.

“If it were me and I already have a motion on the floor I wouldn’t say a word. Don’t talk yourself out of something,” O’Brien said with a laugh.

The commission approved the vote unanimously.

“I certainly am humbled by the reception that I’ve gotten in this county,” Cameron said, “and you are correct, Mr. Chairman, an old adage is, when the buyer buys, stop selling. But the interface that I’ve had with commissioners and the problems that we’ve had during pre-employment period that were introduced to me has been refreshing. I think there’s a genuine desire on the part of this board to get these problems behind us, and get them behind us in a way that best benefits this community, and the dialogue that I’ve had so far certainly indicates to me that that’s something that’s going to be forthcoming. I have had the opportunity to sit down with a number of staff people, not all of them, but I am impressed with the quality of your bench. I believe that if there is anything that I can add to it is to get them flying in formation.”

Cameron has already visited the Sheriff’s Operations Center, ground zero of his predecessor’s Hades. The sheriff evacuated the center in June following months of complaints by employees related to unexplained but unhealthy atmospheric conditions that largely resemble sick-building syndrome. One of Cameron’s first orders of business is to negotiate an interim solution for the one to three years’ exile of sheriff’s staff from the facility, until a new building is built or the old Operations Center is fixed. Right now, the sheriff and the Clerk of Court are at odds over space usage at the courthouse. Cameron visited the Operations Center with Sheriff Staly last Friday. He also visited the decrepit Plantation Bay utility, and was hoping to visit Bing’s Landing and Captain’s BBQ, the next urgent matter on the commission’s agenda, before Wednesday’s meeting on it.

Cameron singled out the HR director and Hadeed as “extraordinarily dedicated and competent in what they were doing” as he spoke to commissioners this morning. “Now I can officially sign documents.”

“Jerry, I’ve got several calls from people telling me how smart I am to have picked you, so you’ve got a lot of support out there,” Commissioner Greg Hansen told Cameron.

“I hope I don’t do anything to lower the perception of your IQ,” Cameron said.

Cameron was a GOP operative in St. Johns County, well known to Hansen and Commissioner Dave Sullivan. It was Sullivan who urged Cameron to apply, making him in essence Sullivan’s pick. Cameron was known in St. Johns as a fixer: much as Flagler County’s GOP splintered a few years ago between right-wing and ultra-right wing factions until some order was restored in 2017, St. Johns’ Republicans splintered, and Cameron is said to have restored order.

Cameron said if he was to get the job in Flagler he would immediately resign from the Republican Executive Committee in St. Johns, and from another Republican club, and described himself as bipartisan. “I cross those lines easily,” he said. “Some of my best friends are Democrat.”

“Politics for the county administrator have no place,” he added.

The county commission in Flagler is hoping he can be its fixer.

Jerry Cameron’s Contract (2019)

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19 Responses for “Flagler Commission Signs Contract Worth $237,000 With Interim Administrator Cameron”

  1. Lorraine McAdams says:

    WHAT!! That is a heck of a salary!! No wonder my taxes keep going up, up and away and I get nothing for it!!

  2. carol says:

    You gotta be kidding!! really???
    You could have two interim Adm for that price.

  3. Bill says:

    Boy can they spend MONEY. Amazing he is getting as much in retirement benefits as MANY County employees make a YEAR.

  4. Beachcomber says:

    Another sweetheart deal if I ever saw one. Maybe they should take the $10,000 in breakage and apply it to the ever-growing Plantation Bay Utility expenses.

  5. Ben Hogarth says:

    Normally I’d be appalled at the public spending for executives / administrators…

    But I know this interim is going to earn every dollar managing this crisis if he can find a way. I don’t know if there is any county in as bad a predicament in the State of Florida, as the one the last administration left Flagler County in. It’s absolutely abhorrent and will only get worse before it gets better. This isn’t just a cliche – watch all of the problems come out to the sunshine now that they are no longer being hidden from the pubic.

    The Plantation Bay Utility issue is your powder keg Commissioners. Time is ticking and I would be extremely concerned.

  6. Again says:

    He better fix the problems here , or he will get the boot out of here as well! Overpaid by all means ! Homeowners take it on the chin !

  7. Stretchem says:

    Another old fat cat white boy. That should move the county forward out of the 1950’s.

  8. fiscal says:

    Great spending for a high school graduate.

    No education…no applicable experience

    THIS is what the taxpayers in Flagler County deserve?


  9. Concerned Citizen says:

    That’s an aweful large salary for an “Interim” Administrator. Why are we paying such a large salary for an “Interim” Administrator? Is the BOCC afraid to make decisions on it’s own or hire an out right replacement? Or are they insistent on wasting more time and money?

    Also is there no requirement to live in Flagler County to run it? And what of age limits and retirement? Seems a lot of questions need to be answered in yet another shady shenannigans by our illustrious BOCC.

    Time will tell whether Mr. Cameron is up to the task and time will tell whethere this is really an “Interim” hire or the BOCC thinks we are stupid when he accepts a permanent position in “a few months”.

    I’m beginning to not trust anything that Greg Hansen is involved in.

  10. The original woody says:

    Car allowance of $1,000 per month?What’s he driving a Bentley?Well maybe after this gig.

  11. mark101 says:

    He is Over Paid. Shame on our county commissioners.

  12. Rojer Perkins says:

    Everyone in the private sector is responsible for costs driving to/from work. Some people on daily basis commute more than 30 miles to/from work.
    I’m sure the IRS will keep an eye on this gentleman to make sure he claims the $1,000/ month as fringe income and pays taxes on it. He can then offset that income with the IRS mileage allowance; provided he keeps a daily log of business/personal miles; especially when he claims mileage on his vacation days!
    It’s always easier to spend someone else’s money.

  13. James says:

    This is indeed a rather large compensation package for one temp position… especially considering that the county needs about 20M for a new water treatment plant. Get with it people. I say forget this one guy, and hire a team of four at 30k a year and keep the difference for the water plant.

  14. Kabel says:

    Hmmm. That’s a large salary for an interim
    I’m afraid to see what a permanent hire will cost the taxpayers.

  15. Diane says:

    He better perform miracles for that salary !


    You just can’t fix stupid!!! This BOCC is as bad as what it was when McLaughlin was in there. Same old shit, just a different day. There appears to be no common sense among the BOCC members. Palm Coast is 80 percent of the county; the county over sees about 20 per cent of the county, so how is this kind of pay even justifiable? It is time that we vote all of the BOCC out of office until we get some on there that have a brain….yest his includes you too Mullins!!! This is absurd and not even realistic. Hadeed set the bar, and the BOCC should have done something with his contract too….he isn’t worth what he is being paid. We tax payers are going to go broke!!! This county is in more debt that EVER before!!!! Shame on you BOCC. This guy smiles all the way to the bank. I am going to put my house up for sale and get out of here. Tired of being surrounded by idiots.

  17. gmath55 says:

    That was an excellent article deb. Who new Jerry Cameron was a conman. Plus he sleeps at the meetings. WOW!
    Conman plus sleeping = $237,000 Where do I sign up?

  18. Tom says:

    We in St. John’s County are Sooo Happy that
    You have taken the Conman .
    Please Don’t send Us the Bill .

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