Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 27, 2015 11:14 a.m.

Have you ever wondered how the salaries of local elected officials are set in Florida?

Determining the compensation of Florida’s county constitutional officers harkens back to the Constitution of 1885. But it wasn’t until 1973 that the Legislature authorized a salary compensation formula, which was established to provide uniform compensation among counties with similar sized populations. In 2009, the Legislature authorized district school board members and elected school superintendents to reduce their salaries on a voluntary basis. Then in 2011, the Legislature authorized county commissioners, clerks of circuit court, county comptrollers, sheriffs, supervisors of elections, property appraisers, and tax collectors to voluntarily reduce their salaries. These rulings did not apply to charter counties or those counties, like Duval, that have a chartered consolidated form of government.

Nassau County is not a charter county, of which there are twenty in the state of Florida. Consequently, salaries of county and constitutional officers are set by the state formulas. The Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) a research arm of the Legislature, principally concerned with forecasting economic and social trends that affect policy making, revenues and appropriations. In September 2014, they issued an annual report entitled Salaries of Elected County Constitutional Officers and School District Officials for Fiscal Year 2014-15, included at the end of this article.

To my knowledge, no local official is currently opting voluntarily to accept a lower salary. If my information is incorrect, please notify me and I will print the correction.

According to the website, in Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, state laws ban school districts from paying board members, and states including Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Louisiana and Missouri pay only a $100 to $200 monthly stipend or per diem plus expenses. However, school board members in Florida, California, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama receive salaries.

The City of Fernandina Beach, which has a home rule charter, does not compensate city commissioners by formula. Section 12 of the city charter allows the commission to set its own salaries by ordinance. The amount has remained at $1,000 per month since 1997, with the exception of FY2011-12 (Ordinance 2011-21) when commissioners voluntarily took a 20 percent cut in salary for one year only during the economic recession. The next commission did not take action to continue the salary cut, so it reverted to $12,000 per year.

The Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA) is a Special District and determines its own compensation as well. The OHPA charter allows commissioners a salary of $2,000 per month. However, over recent years port commissioners have voluntarily worked for half salary: $1,000 per month.

If you are considering a run for elected office, a look at the compensation by position might help you decide.

 Elected Office   Current Annual Salary  Incumbent(s) 
Constitutional Officers
Clerk of Courts $110,484 John Crawford
Property Appraiser 110,484 Michael Hickox
Sheriff 119,424 Bill Leeper
Supervisor of Elections 92,409 Vicki Cannon
Tax Collector 110,484 John Drew
General Government
Nassau County Commissioner 44,612 Danny Leeper, Steve Kelley, Pat Edwards, George Spicer, Junior Boatright
Fernandina Beach City Commissioner 12,000 Ed Boner, Pat Gass, Robin Lentz, Johnny Miller, Tim Poynter
School District
School Board Member 30,128 Donna Martin, Gail Cook, Jamie Deonas, Kimberly Fahlgren, Kathy Burns
Superintendent 110,484 John Ruis
Special District
Port Commissioner 12,000 Richard Bruce, Adam Salzburg, Carrol Franklin, Danny Fullwood, Ron Braddock

CORRECTION:   According to the most recent information from the Florida Association of Counties website (, the number of charter counties in Florida is now 20, not 12 as I originally reported.  Those counties, which range in size from 30,771 (Wakulla) to 1,771,099 (Broward), account for more than 75 percent of Florida’s population.  Charter counties allow the county voters more control over local matters, since decisions do not need to be referred to the Legislature for action.

Thank you, John Glenn, for bringing the inaccuracy to my attention–I have corrected the text.


0 0 votes
Article Rating

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Madeline Richard
Madeline Richard (@guest_27298)
7 years ago

I think some of politicians are not making enough, and I think others are making too much.

Steven Crounse
Steven Crounse (@guest_27455)
7 years ago

This is a Bazaar World. Somehow we have allowed, The most uncontrolled power, with the biggest potential to destroy this communities, Economy, Ecology and way of life in the hands of Men who work part time, make the minimum amount of pay. God knows what talents they have to do this type of work. Why is this? I’ll tell you, we as voters have not Vetted these men. We continue to “let someone else do it” Just look at the turn out at the last election for City Commissioner.— 20% of the registered voters? The only way our Town can fight for our rights, and stop big money from taking over our Island is know who’s the person your voting for. I don’t want my Town to look like Hilton Head S.C. or Some toxic fossil fuel terminal. Both are unacceptable. Know who we are voting for.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x