35,000 Florida officials earned taxpayer-funded salaries of at least $100,000 in 2017

In a study conducted by OpenTheBooks.com, the non-partisan organization found nearly 35,000 state and local government employees in Florida were paid six and seven-figure salaries, costing taxpayers $5.5 billion annually.

Since last year, the headcount of these high-compensated Florida government workers jumped by nearly 4,000 employees.

Here are a few examples of what OpenTheBooks uncovered:

  • 717 small-town, city, and village employees – including 26 local administrators out-earning every U.S. governor at $180,000.
  • 2,484 State of Florida employees – including $276,000 for Commissioner of Education Pamela Stewart; $218,925 each for Department of Children and Families Medical Executive Directors Josefina Baluga and Steve Brasington.
  • 3,195 teachers and school administrators – including chief academic officer Daniel Gohl ($196,001) in Broward County School District; minority achievement officer James Lawson ($181,120) in Orange County School District; and English and Journalism teacher James Johnson ($121,493) in St. Johns County School District.
  • 13,305 college and university employees – including Vice President of Health Affairs David Guzick ($1.2 million) and Director of the Graduate Tax Program Martin McMahon ($780,392) at the University of Florida.

Not even resignations and retirements can stop some public employees from receiving huge payouts. Bruce Pelly, Palm Beach County’s airport director, pulled in $236,768 in 2017 on top of the $70,968 in annual retirement checks. Pelly worked for more than 20 years before “retiring” in 2010 to collect a $304,000 lump sum payout. Just 30 days later, he was rehired in the exact same position.


For more information on Florida’s six-figure-plus salary public employees, click here.

Click here to search all six-figure public employees in Florida (and the U.S.) by using an interactive zip code map!

OpenTheBooks.com is a nonpartisan project of American Transparency, an Illinois-based public spending watchdog founded in 2011 by Adam Andrzejewski with former Republican U.S. Sen. Dr. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma as honorary chairman.