• Orlando mayor backs away from 21 percent pay hike idea, settles for less

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    ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando's mayor and city commissioners voted to give themselves a 6 percent pay increase late Monday afternoon.

    Channel 9 reported last week that council had given preliminary approval for a 21 percent pay increase.

    On Monday, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer backed off the idea of that large pay increase.

    "In my opinion, on any objective basis the increases are justified. But while the economy is recovering I think that that type of percentage increase sends the wrong message to the public and also to our employees," said Dyer.

    Dyer's annual salary would have jumped from approximately $160,000 to around $195,000.

    Council members' pay would have jumped to $60,000.

    Despite the fact the mayor and council chose to take six percent raises, some union leaders said they don't like it because it doesn't reflect city raises across the board

    "I think they should've went with what the employees were going with, 2 percent," said Joshua Willis, chairman of the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union.

    Dyer told Channel 9 that he thought long and hard about the increase and then decided to do what's fair.

    "Other than the news media I got very few inquiries. And most of them were more positive, 'We think you deserve an increase,'" said Dyer.

    Orlando City Commissioner Robert Stuart agreed.

    "I'd like to see you make a ton more money, Because I think you've done as good as any mayor in America," Stuart said to Dyer.

    But resident Lawana Gelzer wasn't so positive.

    She accused the mayor of not disclosing information on the raises in budget documents.

    "You have bamboozled us. You lied," Gelzer told the mayor. "When the public said they had a problem with it, then you made the adjustment. Shame on you."

    A mayor's representative said that information about the was public and was posted online with the budget meeting agenda.

    Orange County commissioner Jim Gray said he plans to reject his raise and will likely give the money to charity.


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