Pensacola City Council members could vote next week to give the city’s mayor a 25 percent raise — a change that wouldn’t take effect until after the city’s next election this fall.
Set by ordinance per the city charter, the mayor’s salary is currently fixed at $100,000 per year. City Council President Gerald Wingate has proposed increasing that figure to $125,000.
Wingate cited four other Florida cities that use the mayor-council or “strong mayor” form of government and whose mayoral salaries exceed that of Pensacola: Hialeah Gardens, where the mayor makes $115,000; Plantation, where the mayor makes $117,000; and the cities of Apopka and West Palm Beach, where the mayor’s salary is $150,000. In terms of population within the city limits, Apopka and Hialeah Gardens are smaller than Pensacola, while Plantation and West Palm Beach are larger.
The salary for other top government officials in the area is much higher than that of Pensacola’s mayor. Escambia County’s county administrator is paid an annual salary of $170,000, while Escambia County’s sheriff makes $145,000 a year. Most of the county’s other constitutional officers — the clerk of the circuit court, tax appraiser, tax collector, and supervisor of elections — are paid about $135,000 a year, as is the county’s superintendent of schools.
Wingate didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Current mayor Ashton Hayward hasn’t yet said whether or not he will seek a third and final term this fall, while Escambia county commissioner Grover Robinson announced his campaign for mayor last October. The mayoral election is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Should more than two candidates qualify to run, the election would be instead held on Tuesday, August 28; if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters would then proceed to a November 6 runoff.
Pensacola council members set the mayor’s salary at $100,000 in 2010 after voter approved the new mayor-council form of government the previous year. The salary can only be changed by ordinance, which means council members would have to pass the change at two readings, at their March and April meetings. The council’s next meeting will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 at Pensacola City Hall, located at 222 West Main Street.