Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon is by far the highest-paid public employee in Palm Coast or Flagler County. When his base salary, perks and other compensation is figured in, and excluding health benefits, Landon is paid $218,296 a year.
Landon was hired in 2007 at a base salary of $155,000. He’s had two raises since, in 2008 and 2009, increasing his salary 10 percent, to $168,878. That’s his base pay. According to his contract, the city also contributes an additional 20 percent of his salary into a defined 401(a) plan, and another 5 percent of his salary into a deferred compensation plan, for a combined $42,219. Landon’s defined and deferred compensation alone totals more than the average wage in Flagler County. The city also pays Landon $7,200 for a car allowance. The combined package adds up to $218,296.
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That figure does not include premiums the city pays for Landon’s term life insurance, or the city’s portion of his health insurance.
Flagler County’s next-highest paid public employee, School Superintendent Janet Valentine, is paid $168,600 in total compensation, including deferred or defined compensation and a $12,000 business expense allowance. Valentine’s total compensation package is $278 below where Landon’s base salary begins, though Valentine manages 1,800 employees (the school district is the largest public or private employer in the county) and is responsible for the education of 13,000 students.
Craig Coffey, the county manager, has a total compensation package of $162,776. Armando Martinez, the Bunnell city manager, has a compensation package of $116,961 (including hazard pay of $500 a month: Martinez, a former police chief, doubles up as the city’s public safety director). Bernie Murphy, Flagler Beach’s outgoing city manager, receives a total compensation package of $115,200. All those figures don’t include health benefits or term life insurance.
Read the Contracts:
Landon’s salary became an issue during a meeting of the Palm Coast City Council last week, when several people brought it up, though without specific figures. The council was focusing on budget issues. Landon’s budget for the coming year includes some 14 to 16 job cuts.
“Why is it that Mr. Landon makes more than 49 governors of the states?,” one of the people who addressed the commission asked at that meeting. (Actually, the governors of five large states make more than Landon, according to base pay, though Landon makes more than members of Congress.) Another member of the public cited a large increase in the average city employee’s wage from 2001 to 2010. Another speaker, Paul McLaughlin, concluded his remark by saying, to applause: “I do agree that probably Mr. Landon, you make too much money. I think what everybody in this room wants is to live in the real world like we have to.”
The public comments over, Mayor Jon Netts turned to Landon to ask, as he customarily does, for answers to several questions that had been raised. When it came time to address Landon’s salary, Netts said: “Mr. Landon, I don’t know if it’s fair to ask you to comment on your salary, but do you have any idea where you stand amongst the average of city managers in Florida?” The question’s preface was curious: a city manager’s salary is public, and there’s no question of fairness or unfairness, but of transparency, when it comes to the salaries of public employees. Netts ensured that there would be no more transparency than necessary by framing the question not about the salary per se, but about its relationship to other city managers’ salaries.
Landon did not elaborate. “I do make a very good salary, no question about it,” he said. “For the comparison in Florida for cities between 50,000 and 100,000, I am right about in the middle of those salaries. Look at those salary surveys every year, and right smack in the middle.” The mayor then asked an unrelated question.
The survey Landon was referring to is conducted on behalf of the Florida League of Cities, but it is far from a widespread or mathematical study. Cities voluntarily send in their data—and few cities do. The League of Cities’ Carol Westmoreland said this week that the number of participants was indeed low. That can skew the numbers: The survey average Landon cited includes just 12 cities, Palm Coast among them. In those 12 cities, the average city manager’s salary is $161,404, or 4.6 percent lower than Landon’s. But that figure includes Landon’s own.
“We don’t want to be the highest paid, we don’t want to be the lowest paid,” Netts said in a separate interview. “To me, the issue is not so much what the salary is. It’s what the benefit you receive. What’s the value you receive for your dollars spent. I’m not sure I’d want a city manager who would work for $75,000 a year. It’s far too complex, it’s far too demanding.”
Compensation Packages: Flagler County's Five Top Public Executive Employees
|Manager or Administrator||Base Pay||Deferred or Defined compensation||Auto/Business Allowances or Hazard Pay||Total|
|Jim Landon, Palm Coast City Manager||$168,878||$42,219||$7,200||$218,297|
|Janet Valentine, School Superintendent||$145,000||$11,600||$12,000||$168,600|
|Craig Coffey, County Administrator||$140,000||$17,976||$4,800||$162,776|
|Armando Martinez, Bunnell City Manager||$90,000||$20,961||$6,000||$116,961|
|Bernie Murphy, Flagler Beach City Manager||$90,000||$18,000||$7,200||$115,200|
I am elated that the editor of this online news source exposed this farce.
The amount of the total compensation is ridiculous. The most recent audit of the city’s finances resulted in a finding of average. Palm Coast’s finances are average in comparison to other cities of similar size. Average results don’t dictate that level of compensation. This man’s salary alone is more than 5 of the mayors in the 10 largest cities in America.
What in the h*ll does this man do that makes him worth almost 10 times the median income of a resident of Palm Coast, median income being $25,0000 per individual and approximately $40,000 per household as per the US Census. The budget that Mr. Landon manages is only $30,000,000. Does he walk on water in his spare time? Next the town council will be giving him another raise with a councilman once again stating “ he doesn’t mind paying for a job well done”. What is being done that can be called well done?
Palm Coast residents should consider a strong mayor form of government, not a strong council form of government. Then the mayor would be hired (voted) by the citizens. The citizens would set the mayor’s salary not the town council. The mayor would be accountable to the citizens who elected him or her, not the town council.
The citizens should be outraged I know I am.
Although the salaries are not on the same level, this story reminds me of Bell, California. Those people of that town are mad, to put it mildly. Is this group our collective Nero that fiddles while Rome burns?
Jim Guines says
Now that all of the managers’ salary packages are on the table, I think I can add to some understanding about the school system situation. A lot of this is related to Bill Delbrugge and his personal feelings about his salary and the people who worked for him. When times got hard, he would not accept a salary increase and he discouraged the board from trying to give him one. After a while it even caused the board to reduce its salary that was recommended by the state. The selflessness of this leader kept the salary low. This is no big hidden deal and that is why the board tried to get Janet Valentine started off not so far behind. I have wondered if Bill left because of the salary as I am sure all managers know each other’s salary. By the way, he built all of our schools and led the schools in getting all “A’s” which no system in the state had ever done and have not yet done. I hope this adds to the understand of at least the school system’s part.
Well we do hire (vote) for Mayor Netts, he’s an elected official, good luck in changing the municipalities system of government. Some of those council members are Republicans and our Mayor is too, it doesn’t sound fiscally responsible of them, aren’t Republicans always talking about saving the taxpayers money? I don’t think their doing a good job.
[email protected] says
netts said i don’t know if it is fair to ask you about your salary, is this guy on drugs? landon is getting paid with taxpayers money and like the writer said it is about transparancy. they are all in bed with each other at the taxpayers expense.
[email protected] says
i have a suggestion, let landon use some of the excess city vehicles than we can save over 7,000.00 in his vehicle expenses. makes sense?
You allow this to go on by electing low grade morons as your municipal and county officals who do the hiring.
I don’t think people should spend their energy being upset by how much money someone else makes.
If it’s an issue of lay-offs, then yes, I agree that some of the higher paid people should be forced to take pay cuts to allow some people to stay. I’m sure some of the cuts are justified though, just as they are in any other work place. Sometimes it’s easier to lay someone off, rather than go through the process of firing them. This used to happen all of the time at my last employer.
art woosley says
Pierre, It would have also been nice to know the population, square miles, number of departments, employees,etc. of the cities mentioned, then maybe a comparison could be made.
“Taxman” is indeed correct regarding the strong mayor form of government, having a competant voting mayor, and four commissioners, would certainly be the best way to run a city.
That form of government provides, true ACCOUNTABILITY, as all five elected officials would then have to run on their OWN voting records, something these roving managers never have to do.
We have not had great track record, or much stability, in our city during the past twelve years, with managers continuing to bounce on through, from one city to another.
If our little city of Flagler Beach, continues picking our city managers from this nationwide circuit, we will have little choice but to consider moving to this superior form of government in the future.
Of course our city of 4500 or so residents, is much smaller, and therefore should be easier to manage than P.C. which will make such a transition that much easier for us.
over it says
Whine, whine, whine……………. And if the salary was 24,000.00 everyone would be crabbing about how unqualified everyone is. What is a comfortable pay scale for everyone?? Is 50 ok? is 75 still ok? I bet 100 is too much. But i bet you think 15 is too low. Wait, i get it !!!!!……….”if a gosh dern politishun makes moor den me, hez payed two gosh dern much” We need to change the city slogan to “Palm Coast: City of big dreams with residents that will bitch until the day those dreams are realized” I love this place. So many things to laugh at, not enough time……….
Layla Hansen says
We have a good City Manager. I just question the wisdom of this with the current economy and layoffs. Why didn’t we hire a School Superintendant on a little less salary than we did? Could have raised it as soon as the economy improved.
People are paying attention now, which is good. Thanks for doing this story. And thanks to those who attended that Council meeting and asked the tough questions. We appreciate what you did.
Just as mentioned, a city with a lot of dreams and thinks it can pay for them all. This salary is way out of line for it’s responsibilities. I look at private business that has more employees, share holders etc that it is responsible for and they don’t make that in this county or area of FL.
The city spends money without proper ROI’s or anything. No follow-up on projects during or afterwards to see if it was worth it or if it has met it’s goal. Like the city fiber plan. I don’t hear anything on that anymore. What has been the cost, benefits, etc. I don’t think they even have a major carrier providing services that businesses need. What was the total cost of that? ongoing support? income it is bringing in?
This city has no controls in place. I bet Landon continues pushing for the new city hall and PC residents will get the shaft again even though we voted it down.
It would be interesting to follow in the footsteps of a city manager for a week to gauge their work load, their skills, and what technical expertise is necessary to competently perform their job. I also would like to know what are the academic credentials needed. For that kind of money they draw it seems one should have impressive academic credentials and proven successful experience in many technical business and government operation skills.
What does it take because I want to be one when I grow up!
Justice for All says
Salary is out of whack for the City. No police department, no solid waste department, no airport department, this list could go on. City isn’t the size of Jacksonville or Orlando.
[email protected] says
blame those who voted to have a city
let him have every dollar
he deserves it all
The thing that really cracks me up is that all of us, you, me and everyone has been so conditioned to the value of our labor, our efforts, the value of what we do for our bosses, that $200k per year sounds like it’s a Kings Ransom, an outrageous amount!
First point: What kind of life does that buy you these days?
Well, if you are careful, it will get you a decent house in the suburbs, albeit with a thirty year mortgage. Maybe your wife won’t have to work, at least not full time. You could buy yourself a new car and a good used one for the wife. And if your really frugal, you might even put a little away for your retirement and the kids college fund. Not a bad life. Lucky guy. In other words…. YOU GET TO LIVE THE AMERICAN LIFE ABOUT EVERY FAMILY I KNEW LIVED BACK IN THE 1960, Plumbers, Steelworkers (Pittsburgh), carpenters, accountants, IT WAS A NORMAL LIFE, remember? The American Dream, only it came true.
Every Uncle I had paid his house off in five to ten years!
Now, you should kiss the hand that gives a person like you a check for merely doing your job. Benefits? Pension? Paid vacation? Get the hell out of here you Socialist bastard, the person that will replace you will be thankful to make less than you, you ungrateful commie!
Seriously, I have a friend that worked for the same electrical contractor in Lake County for six years. When he passed his Journeymans test, he got a 50 cent an hour raise, to $8.50. And this was a few years ago, when construction was booming. He asked for a little more and his boss told him he would love to, but he had to stay competitive because his competition was hiring Mexicans and paying less than that. (The punchline is that two weeks later he bought his wife a new Mercedes convertible for her birthday, but thats not my point here)
Think about it. His take home pay was around $300 a week. How in the hell can you even think about raising a family on that? How did we ever let it get to this point, where a good hard working skilled craftsman makes $300 a week and the CEO of General ‘Electric makes $37 Million a year and gets a severance package of $287 Mil? Where is the outrage? Why do we have Fox news telling us that the Unions and Social Security are ruining this country every ten minutes and not pick up a pitchfork and head to wall street?
That’s the first rant, second point later.
H. Peter Stolz says
I think we should stop picking on this overpaid civil servant. After all, as we were shown recently pictorially, he has to work in very cramped quarters; doesn’t have a private bathroom; has to go to a gym with other and ordinary folk and must be able to barely make car payments on that puny car allowance. Now about that new city hall!
no new city hall
no city employee should make more wages than the average income of the citizens they serve. no ones job is more demanding the our heros serving our country and law enforcement.
Liana G says
What exactly has Mr Landon done for this city? Gave us a mass of empty houses that are turning into eye sores. Why didn’t Mr Landon pay heed to those ‘realists’ who were not only warning about the housing bubble but listing FL among the top 5? And that foreseeable job loss would soon follow. And that there would be an exedus of families leaving in search of a place where there are jobs. And that for the first time in almost 30+ years FL has seen a drop in retiree migration – SC and NC are now the destinations of choice. Where is the hindsight? Isn’t that what the big money paid for? How long will it be before Home Depot or Lowe’s close up shop? And PC Ford, the movie theatre, Belks, Khol’s, and all those restaurants that people without jobs cannot afford to eat at. People are hurting and he’s sitting high on the hog! Well Mr Landon since you can afford it, as Suze Ormon would say, you should spend it to support the local economy not us poor folks who can’t, even if we’re willing!
What has Landon done for us. Don’t worry if the voters don’t approve a new City Hall we will find the money and build it without their approval. Damned if he ain’t right. Thanks for cramming it down our throats. Oh yeah, don’t forget to threaten Palm Coast Plantation residents that you will take their water company just like the City got Grand Haven’s!
Aren’t they supposed to be public servants, not dictators?
NOT OUT OF THE WOODS says
Regardless of what he does or how hard he works ( lets keep in mind he is a government employee…how hard do any of them really work?)………one word for paying this amount in salary in Palm Coast: OBSCENE!
The blame for this outrage lies squarely at the feet of the town council.
They hired him.
They set his salary and approved it. And give him raises.
He reports to the council not the citizens and he acts like a foil for the mayor.
This model of government does not serve the citizens. A strong mayor form of city government would, with an elected mayor. Not a figure head elected by the town council to preside over the council.
I hate to burst the bubble of criticisms here, but I just got my notice of proposed property taxes and the only proposed tax that remains the same as last year is my Palm Coast city tax. School and Flagler County taxes went up. Landon and the city council must be doing something right.
Liana G says
I received mine not too long ago but for the measly $20.00 less, I would willing give that up if Mr Landon would take a salary reduction of $118,000 and hire maybe 3 additional persons @ $39,000 each per year. That would be 3 new jobs created, 3 less persons/families having to leave the district and, actually improved efficiency in the running of the city administration. Hence Mr Landon would have more time to dedicate to performing his duties effectively rather than making all these irresponsible fly by night decisions.
Next, Maynor Netts… What’s his salary? Next? , Next? ……..
This poor little town of PC cannot afford all these high salaries.
More employees and less concentration of high salaries = less taxes for all when more are contributing to the general pool.
Oh, surprisingly my house appraisal remained the same as last year. Funny that. I must be living in Buckingham Palace. I’ll be visiting in the tax appraiser soon and will not leave until I get a ‘realistic’ appraisal of my property.
mark your calander: sept. 16 at 6pm. palm coast library, corner of belle terre and palm coast parkway.
the over paid guru city manager will be the only guest speaker.
1. When the economy is good it’s easy to make that much money and it doesn’t sound like a lot.
2. When the economy is bad that is a significant amount and is unnecessary when every tax-paying person struggles to cut corners to make it and he doesn’t have to and we are paying his salary.
3. Your people and people like him are what got our country into this mess.
4. It’s not any immigrant’s fault to come somewhere where the businesses are paying them to keep food on their family’s table regardless of what it’s worth…doing anything for your family? A little is better than nothing. If you think that’s so awful then you probably wouldn’t do the same for your family which says something…get mad at the businesses and government for not putting regulations on them to make them pay taxes and we wouldn’t be in this mess. Oh wait it’s your governent that was too busy killing and fighting 2 wars (one COMPLETELY USELESS) to do anything about it.
5. Pretty sure all the rich, white bastards are that way because most of their ancestors came to this country, pushed out and killed everyone THAT WAS ALREADY HERE (NOT WHITE), changed the language (WAS NOT ENGLISH), and made their money on things that kill people and our environment ( tobacco, alcohol, guns, mowing down any land possible to build on) that GIVES YOU THE BREATH YOU BREATHE OUT SO HATEFUL.
6. You started out by telling people not to whine about his salary and then you ended with whining about salary. It’s people like Jim Landon and “conservatives” who hire “whoever” to work these jobs, pay as little as possible, and keep the money to themselves. Figure out what you stand for before you say anything.
7.Before anyone says “well he was voted in”, I am fully aware of that and majority doesn’t always mean right!
Oh and 8..:)
Not every human lives a country like ours or a country remotely close to being like ours…so sometimes their government sucks so bad they have to do what they can to survive and provide for their family…how is bad government their fault?
Mike Finnigan says
I think one day we might get a honest story about Palm Coast out of this newspaper. This is a paper that might as well be owned by the city of Palm Coast. As proof of that they will most likely even delete this post. The City Officials in Palm Coast now think in the East of 95 Bubble. Someday we will have an honest reporting about the whole city, and not just how it is viewed by a few city officials that think they know whats going on in Palm Coast Florida. I am now the biggest supporter of the city manager Mr. Jim Landon, I want to shake his hand and sing his praise. He has suckered the City Officials into paying him more then 200 K a year. I am happy we have his negotiating skills. If he can suck all that out of the City Council we should turn him loose on Washington DC to get jobs and industry for Palm Coast. It will work fine as long as he doesn’t tell anyone how incompetent the mayor is. Keep fighting for a raise in March Jim and I hope you get it. Lets see if the Palm Coast Observer aka the city rag sheet will follow that.