State pay thaw gives Legislature chance for hefty staff pay raises

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The Miami Herald reports that after thawing pay freezes for state employee pay, legislative leaders took the opportunity to give their own staff a hefty raise in pay also.

Although performance and promotion are the primary basis determining pay, staff raises actually fell within a wide range. Many started with as little as three to five percent, with a few workers getting as much as a 20 percent bump.

The Herald talked about the different approaches Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford each took to pay increases.

As of last month, Gaetz gave bonuses and salary increases to 35 staff members, agreeing to give salary increases also to three veteran employees of the Senate Democratic office. They were making significantly less than their Senate President’s office counterparts were.

Starting this month, Weatherford will be paying more to 71 full-time employees, based on recommendations on performance. Other House raises were mostly due to promotions and increased responsibility.

State workers are union members with negotiated salaries, unlike House and Senate staff, who are not part of collective bargaining. Their salaries rise or fall based on political will.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.