The highest paid city official in South Florida is going back to the public employee ranks and taking a huge pay cut in the process.
Pembroke Pines City Manager Charles Dodge has an annual $705,000 private contract with the city (recently it was $755,000) that pays only him and his assistant, Martin Gayeski. Under the private contract, Dodge was the highest paid city manager in Florida, making as much as the city managers of Miami and Fort Lauderdale combined.
The kicker: Dodge is also receiving a $75,000 pension. He only inked the big private contract after he retired as an employee.
A piece on the Dodge contract that aired in November led with Jay Schwartz, who chaired a city board at the time and was running for commission. Well, Schwartz won office and made good on his promise. When he put a motion on the agenda to end the contract last week, Dodge sent out a memo agreeing to end his contract and return as a salaried employee. His pay is expected to drop by at least half. Schwartz says ending the contract is going to save taxpayers about $400,000 a year.
Dodge's private reign cost taxpayers millions of dollars and should be used in textbooks about the dangers of such contracts. But taxpayers aren't off the hook yet -- the contract doesn't end until February 2013, so Dodge still has about eight more months on the gravy train. Here's his memo:
Memorandum To: Honorable Mayor
RE: Professional Services Agreement with Charles F. Dodge, LLC
As stipulated in the Professional Services Agreement between the City of Pembroke Pines and Charles F. Dodge, LLC in effect at this time, please accept this correspondence as my intent to provide notice on/or about January 27, 2013 return to "full-time employee status" from "contractor" status effective February 27, 2013. Based on the Amendment to the Original Agreement dated February 6, 2008, upon my return to "full-time employee status", my salary will be equivalent to what it was when my employment transitioned to a "contractor" status. During the period of time as a "contractor", my salary, if I was classified as an employee, would have been adjusted for COLA adjustments (as well as salary reductions), merit, market conditions, etc. However, given the changes at the City as well as market conditions, I will contact each of you to schedule appointments to discuss the compensation/benefits package over the next several months.
I look forward to our continued professional relationship as we embrace the many challenges ahead.
Charles F. Dodge