He makes more than a quarter of a million and wants taxpayers to give him a big raise

1:44 PM, Nov 11, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- In this economy most people feel lucky just to have a job much less getting a huge raise. But for some people working for the taxpayer it's big bucks, big raises and big bonuses. Salaries, raises and bonuses most of us could only dream about and sometimes at five times the median household income here in the bay area.

How much do state employees make? Look up salaries here

"People are hurting right now, it's just bad timing," said Hillsborough Commissioner Sandy Murman.

That's particularly true about Tampa's Port Director, Richard Wainio. Wainio makes $251,118 a year.

The 10 News investigators have found out that while it's somewhat under the radar, Wainio is negotiating for a seven percent raise. That would bump him up to $268,500. Add another $49,000 in benefits and he up to $317,500. He's also in line for huge bonuses.

Wainio did not want to talk to us about the proposed salary increase, perks and bonuses partially because he was traveling, but also because he said it wouldn't be appropriate to talk about it without first talking to his board members.

Some of his board members have plenty to say about the proposed increases that were quietly put together by Board Chairman Lawrence Ship.

"It's somewhat egregious, some might say arrogant to expect you can get a seven percent salary increase," said Murman who also serves on the Port Board is upset with the proposed raise and she's not alone.

"We need to reward good people but we need to recognize there are people out there making a choice between paying their mortgages and buying their medicine," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "Those kinds of big numbers and those kind of perks you really have to tread lightly."   

Hillsborough School Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia doesn't tread lightly when it comes to bonuses. Elia who makes $263,000 a year and has received an additional $184,889 in bonuses including money for increasing students in Advanced Placement classes for the five years she has been in charge of schools.

Asked how she justifies the thousands of dollars in bonuses when 60 percent of the students are failing the AP tests.

"Part of the work that is done with AP is we get students ready for the exam and there is work that has been done that show if a student is in a high level course it is a great place for them to be," said Elia.

When pushed about the bonuses, Elia only wanted to talk about the $55,000 she gave to charity and not the $134,000 she kept. 

"I appreciate you taking the interest in it thank you," said Elia.

Then there's Judith Lisi, the head of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, who proves big bonuses can come to non-profits.

Although government forms say Lisi made $1 million last year, the chairman of the board says that amount reflects a change in the tax code. He says Lisi only made $400,000, however she did get a $100,000 bonus. Keep in mind taxpayers contribute $583,000 a year to the performing arts center.

A $100,000 bonus is great but how about a $187,508 raise would be even better. Dr. Steven Klasko, Senior VP of USF Health & Dean, makes $752,617 a year and he received a 25 percent bonus courtesy of you the taxpayer.

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