TOP DOLLARS FOR THE TOP PAIR — Just in time for Christmas, the Volusia County Council granted increases in the annual salaries of its highest-ranking personnel. From left, County Attorney Michael Dyer, County Manager George Recktenwald and Deputy County Manager Suzanne Konchan listen to the County Council’s remarks on various topics, before council members agreed to raise pay of the manager and attorney each by 4 percent.

Jingle cash, jingle cash, jingle all the way.
Oh, what fun it is to get a hefty raise in pay!

In what has become a Christmas tradition, the Volusia County Council has given the county manager and the county attorney extra reasons to celebrate: 4 percent raises.
Although the County Council’s last meeting of the year took place in the shadow of reports of abuse of inmates in the county jail, council members on Dec. 20 bequeathed the sizable pay increases to County Manager George Recktenwald and County Attorney Michael Dyer.

Recktenwald’s annual salary will rise from the current $237,217.76 to $246,706.47. Dyer will see his pay increase from $221,738.40 per year to $230,607.94.
There was a twist leading up to the decision. County Chair Jeff Brower held back his support for the pay raises, pending the outcome of a state investigation of the allegations of jail mistreatment.

“I’m going to withhold evaluation,” Brower told his colleagues, as the County Council moved to give annual performance evaluations of the two appointed officials, the only employees under the direct supervision of the elected officials.
Brower’s remarks and his reason for not supporting pay raises at this season surprised Council Member Billie Wheeler.

“What are you going to do about that?” she asked Brower. “That could go on.”

“I don’t know what the time for this is,” he replied.

Other members of the council were ready to praise Recktenwald, in spite of the concerns about alleged problems within the Corrections Department.

“There’s a laundry list of other things here,” Council Member Danny Robins said. “I’m overall happy.”

“He has served the residents of the county beyond reproach,” Wheeler said, speaking of Recktenwald.

Wheeler noted leaders of the cities who attended the Volusia Roundtable of Elected Officials had lauded the county manager, especially in the wake of the recent hurricanes.

“Everyone of them praised his response and services from the county … and mentioned George by name,” she said, turning to him. “They feel they can call you and get results.”

“Overall, I’m impressed with the hard work of you and your staff,” County Vice Chair Barb Girtman said.

“You’ve done a great job of putting together a good team … that makes us look good,” Council Member Ben Johnson said. “Overall, George, you’ve done a fantastic job during some bad times.”

Johnson then moved to give Recktenwald a 4-percent pay raise. Girtman seconded.
“I’m going to vote against it until the investigations are complete,” Brower said.
The vote on the pay hike for Recktenwald was 5-1. The County Council is still missing its seventh member, because Fred Lowry, representing District 5, had to resign due to his pursuit of a School Board seat.

In like manner, council members lavished praise on attorney Dyer before approving a 4-percent raise for him, too.

“You’ve always been available. Sometimes we talk at 7 o’clock in the morning,” Wheeler told Dyer. “The sign of a good leader is the team they have around them. … All in all, I appreciate everything you’ve done.”

Brower similarly commended Recktenwald and Dyer, but he refused to back pay raises, for the time being. He said his constituents have questions about what is taking place in the jail.

“They are concerned about the investigations going on,” Brower said. “The accusations are far-reaching and devastating to the county.”

The council voted 5-1 to give Dyer a 4-percent boost.

Both Recktenwald and Dyer thanked the County Council for the holiday largesse.


  1. Excluding Council Member Heather Post, the Volusia County Council could care less about those, who some would call low level, essential workers who provide services everyday for us under contracts. You know the ones who keep our County’s facilities cleaned and grounds maintained. The ones working for contractors who are gipped out of a fair wage and benefits so we can save money on their backs while at the same time we are paying outrageous salaries to those high level inept bureaucrats, some who will not even answer our emails or take our calls. We should all be ashamed that services are being contracted out to contractors who are paying poverty level wages while at the same time millions of dollars are being given away at the County level to corporations, non-profits, and individuals. Unbelievable how we allow hard working people to be treated who are doing the jobs most of us refuse to do. The County Council praise the bureaucrats ad nauseam while treating many in the working class as if they are beneath the rest of us. Our priorities are all wrong…Those who are willing to work hard for us everyday should be hired as County Employees and they should be paid a fair wage and receive benefits just like every other County employee. Workers cutting the grass and cleaning the toilets are just as, if not more, important than those pushing paper or answering phones. They are professionals who should be valued and honored just like any other County employee and they are not beneath us. The County needs to cut the giveaways of our tax dollars and pay the workers.

  2. What have either of those individuals done to merit such a bonus? Thank you Jeff Brower for not voting for the pay increase. You’re right, we the people want accountability, and have many questions that need to be addressed by incidents and claims within our county jail.

    Ben Johnson can take a seat. He was a horrible sheriff and has no honor to commend anyone on their performance.


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