Our 2 Cents

I fully agree with the observations and comments by “Tell It Like It Is” (below)

I retired to Port Orange 18 years ago after a 40 year career in municipal government.  During my time here I soon became totally perplexed by the local culture in the hiring practices for key management personnel for the city. 
The city has assistant directors; assistant managers or assistant chiefs in all departments, yet I do not ever recall any promotions from within those ranks.  How demoralizing that must feel for those and other long term employees. Instead the city keeps filling top management positions from outside the existing workforce. Most of those hires are rejects from other jurisdictions. When they start their on-the-job training the city pays them big bucks while they learn were Nova Rd.or Dunlawton Ave is located and were the office rest rooms are located.
Common sense should tell the Mayor and council if a assistant director or assistant chief is not fully qualified to be promoted to director or chief he should have been given his walking papers long ago. Why is the council allowing the City Manager to run a private “Good Ol’ Boys Club” on our dime?


Actually, the city is missing the mark in identifying and compensating value in the workplace. They hire retread MIT’s at the top salary of $110,000 to $125,000 a year, juice up their vacation and sick leave from day one, and often pay them to move here. Many of them are incompetent yet start at the top without having to prove their value or working from an entry level managerial salary and earning their way up.
Seven or Eight years ago mayor Green appealed to the general employees and asked that they would sacrifice during the recession (by quietly accepting that the step increases that allow an employee to move through the salary range over a period of years if they performed well) their step increases and that they would be frozen until the recession ended. He also said all COLA’s would be frozen, but that when the recession was over that the city would take care of the employees. Presently the step increases are still frozen and non-existent so that all the entry level employees are unable to earn their way through the salary range irrespective of how well they perform or how much value they bring to the table. The city still advertises positions as if a salary range exists and is not always forthright in explaining to new hires that the salary range is a non-existent farce. This type of situation does not exist in the private sector in any respectable job. In the past 8 years their has been about a 5% Cola for the general employees which amounts to not much more than 1/2% per year. Port Orange is supposed to be a premier city among its peers but most of the neighboring cities are doing much better for their employees.
Port Orange really has a succession problem in its work force and an aging work force that is getting ready to retire. They imported an incompetent city manager who has further imported an overpaid group of incompetent retread FCCMA managers that are yes men, and are here to pad their retirements. In the meantime, this city manager has declared a silent war on the rest of the work force and has given no one any tools in their box to develop succession plan. Middle managers and highly skilled technical professionals, as well as State licensed professionals in law enforcement, fire science, and public utilities are treated like dirt and are not valued. There is no incentive to move into supervisory or middle management positions, and under the present city manager’s domain these so called promotions turn out to effectively be demotions.
Very few people with any potential or integrity want to work directly under the MIT bozos that have been recruited from the FCCMA and consequently the least competent individuals from the work force are promoted for their ass kissing skills. Competent supervisors and middle managers that still maintain their integrity are looked down on and often abused or treated like pariahs.
The best new employees who came to work here with the understanding that there was an advertised salary range that one might set their goals on and work through soon find out that advancement or self betterment is non-existent in the city of Port Orange. As soon as they get some skills and experience under their belt they leave to find an organization that appreciates and rewards their value. Then the succession plan evaporates while the remaining valuable employees get older and older.
This is currently a truly dysfunctional organizational. Their are relatively worthless individuals that are not earning their way up and are being paid way more than they would be in the private sector, while their are extremely valuable employees that are underpaid and have not had an incentive raise in over 8 years. This is going to bite the city and the taxpayers real badly in the next 5 years if something is not done now to recognize and reward value within the organization as well as public officials doing a major overhaul of administrative management.
Maybe a value based broad banding pay system can be instituted that will reward value and mandate performance. Perhaps we can harvest more of our experienced middle managerial high performing known commodities that we have internally for administrative managerial opportunities or import some real talent from the private sector or perhaps retired military.
As far as comparing public employment to the private sector in many cases it is like comparing apples to oranges. Their are some positions that you can find in both sectors. Unskilled and semi skilled labor probably does better in the public sector. Law enforcement, public safety, and public utilities is generally not found in the private sector, and for the skills they possess and the risks that these State licensed professionals are subject to most of them are under paid in the public sector. These are also the fields where there is the largest percentage of aging workforce, lack of succession planning, and potentiality of organizational implosion from imminent brain drain. Professional positions like engineering, law, and accounting does not pay nearly as much in the public sector than in the private sector. however most of the people employed in the public sector in these positions are so incompetent and valueless that they couldn’t hold a job in their chosen field in the private sector. The current city manager and most of his senior management team wouldn’t last 3 months in a private corporation the size of the city. As a matter of fact, a private company would have done their due diligence ahead of time and never hired them.


5 thoughts on “Our 2 Cents

  • May 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    The profound philosopher, poet, and essayist George Santayana once wrote “Those that cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it”. The City Council appears to have a short memory and seems to be heading for disaster. They need to wake up fast and realize all it takes is three councilmen to vote our problems down the road and let him take his hoards of MIT’s with him. Then maybe we can embark upon a new beginning with a new paradigm for success.

  • May 19, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I wonder how that vote would go if it were held at the next Council meeting ???
    I am pretty sure I know how it will go the first meeting in December !!!

  • May 19, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Below is a link to the City Quarterly payroll. It is for the 1st quarter 2014. Simply multiply by by 4 and that would be the annual salary. It appears that overtime is included as well. Now we know where the fat cats are. An entry level employee that has been with the City for 7 years that provides insurance for their family, pays mandatory taxes and pension costs takes home less today than they did 7 years ago. The escalating cost of family health insurance has wiped out and then some the nominal pay increases that they have received.. They now take home $250 a week just like they did 7 years ago. Look how many there are below the $75,000. Ted if you have any Job Openings please post them. There are plenty of fine workers out there and I’m sure you treat your employees better than that. $250 a week take home pay for 40 hours qualifies a young family for food stamps. That is not an overpaid fat cat.

  • May 20, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I went to work for a large corporation in Bergen County, N.J. when I was 16yrs old and did not have a high school diploma being forced out of school due to economic reasons. I stayed with this company for 22 years moving up the ranks over the years because of my excellent work and the in-house training programs the company provided their employees. I eventually became Department Manager over 65 people, many of whom had college degrees. A college degree is a wonderful thing but it doesn’t necessarily mean the person knows what they are doing or can manage people. Managing people and getting along with employees take special skills.
    We also had an employee suggestion box and if you came up with a good money saving idea and it was implemented you received a cash bonus and recognition in the monthly newsletter. What a morale booster and what an incentive to be creative and cost conscious.
    Sadly I don’t see any of that type of thing happening within the City of Port Orange…just a bunch of strangers being brought in because they have that “piece of paper and, showing no respect for the skilled workforce.

  • May 20, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I can only remember one time ever receiving a pay raise that was not earned on merit. That was in the early 80’s with double digit inflation, and that raise was in place of our merit raises.
    Last year I spoke to council and our city manager against an across the board increase. I recognized the morale as later evidenced by the “climate survey” and although their is no choice in our negotiated labor agreements, a raise that is Given rather than Earned is of no value unless you are counting cash. How it must make the majority of our hard working productive and knowledgeable people feel to receive no more than the least productive. It does remove the sense of accomplishment and the motivation to go beyond the minimum standard.
    As a supervisor it was most often hard to decide how much to reward or have to explain where improvement was needed before I could justify a pay increase, but as my district supervisor would remind us that is why you are managers and not operators.


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