JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With the city in the throes of a budgetary battle, it seems like lately it's been one big blame game.
On Monday, the sheriff blamed the mayor saying, "Don't tell me these are my cuts. These cuts are the mayor's cuts."
After that Nelson Cuba, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), handed Action News a list of pay raises around 200 members of management at the JEA recently received. The FOP is upset because they come at a time when police officers are losing their jobs.
"The worker bees don't get anything. How come these appointed folks ended up getting these big pay raises," Cuba asked.
We went straight to JEA to find out.
Turns out the FOP's sheet was a bit outdated. But nonetheless, JEA's list of salaries still shows individual pay raises ranging from $2,000 a year to their CEO Jim Dickenson getting a whopping $46,571 raise. This brought his current salary to $364,208 a year.
"I understand that could be an issue and a concern to them," said JEA's Chief Human Resources Officer Susan Hughes when we brought the FOP's concerns to her attention.
But according to Hughes, JEA's management hasn't had a raise since 2007. Even though the linemen didn't get a raise this year, they decided to increase the top tier's pay to stay competitive.
Dickenson's raise was part of his contract. Hughes said for the last several years he had declined taking it. Dickenson is set to retire in 2013.
When asked if JEA has a solution to the city's budget crisis, Hughes said, "I can tell you that this year JEA's contribution to the city is almost 23 percent of the general revenue."
But Nelson believes the city could have potentially negotiated for a bigger cut if JEA had not given those raises.
"If we're all going to be in this together, then let's all be in this together," he said.
JEA tells Action News they have a lower salary budget today than they did back in 2008.