Although the Red Chinese virus visited a lot of pain on Jacksonville residents, it meant big profits for the bosses in the building we have nicknamed City Haul.
For Mayor Lenny Curry’s top aide – already one of the highest paid people in local government – the deadly virus was a windfall.
Brian Hughes augmented his hefty $313,500 salary with $60,740 worth of emergency compensation time, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Although several thousand city workers got extra compensation because they were “essential” some effectively doubled their salaries temporarily.
It all added up to $64 million, the Times-Union said.
Presumably, it will come eventually from one of the federal government handouts to state and local governments. But it all comes from the same pockets and to date the fed bonanza has not been granted. (The city has gotten plenty of free money but none that could be used for this purpose.)
Comp time normally is paid when an employee leaves, but the Times-Union said Curry made an exception for some of his pals so they could cash in. Hughes and several others got about $15,000.
During the period deemed an emergency, non-essential employees stayed home and got paid. Those deemed essential stayed at work and got the additional compensation.
It sounds like overtime pay but in the private sector management types normally don’t get overtime like hourly workers.
But that provision was in Curry’s declaration of an emergency on March 13, 2020. Three weeks later, Curry reduced the compensation for appointed employees such as Hughes to a half-hour for every hour worked.
Hughes accumulated the $60 grand in a two-month period. Another employee who got almost that much took six months to accumulate that amount.
That employee was one of 16 who worked diligently handing out $1,000 to 40,000 local residents, which the city said took “many hours.”
Some local officials were surprised to learn that the cash-out option was available. City officials told the Times-Union that it wasn’t advertised; employees had to “reach out” to learn about the option.
Eye on Jacksonville would like to ask Curry or Hughes exactly what Hughes administrates and how much more he administrated during 60 days in 2020, but Curry does not allow his minions to talk to Eye on Jacksonville.