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News Section: Local Government

BOCC Could Decide Hunzeker's New Contract at Tuesday's Meeting

Published Friday, January 25, 2013 12:05 am

BRADENTON -- At the end of Tuesday's Manatee County Commission workshop, Chairman Larry Bustle said he had one more item to announce. Bustle told fellow commissioners that he had been working on the deal to retain Manatee County Administrator administrator Ed Hunzeker beyond his planned retirement in August of 2014. Bustle told the board that he'd "figured out how to do it," but couldn't go into further details at that time. The item could come up as quickly as Tuesday's BOCC meeting.

Bustle, who had the unanimous approval of the board to begin negotiations, piqued the interest of fellow members. Commissioner Carol Whitmore, a close ally of Hunzeker's replied, "Now you have me thinking and I can't wait to see." Bustle ended the meeting with, "I would like to take action at our next session, that would be on the 29th." He said he was looking forward to "making it happen," and adjourned the meeting.


Ed Hunzeker

Retaining Hunzeker could be expensive for Manatee County taxpayers. Hunzeker has been in the state's DROP program for the last three years. DROP, which stands for Deferred Retirement Option Program, allows enrolled workers eligible for retirement to continue working, while up to five years of benefits are paid into a trust, where they earn interest at 6.5 percent APR.


Also, as a long-time high ranking bureaucrat with FRS participants, Hunzeker has amassed a considerable retirement benefit. Were he to leave in 2014 as originally planned, he would be eligible for a lump sum benefit of over $300,000 and monthly benefits over $6,000. 


There is a loophole that allows FRS participants to "double dip" by retiring for at least 6 months before seeking their old position (or one with another FRS participant). But if workers in DROP do not terminate FRS participating employment at the 5-year point, they void their retirement. Manatee County would also have to repay benefits from DROP.


Chairman Bustle has already publicly acknowledged that it could cost money to retain Hunzeker, who already earns close to $185,000 (including deferred compensation and vehicle allowance). Bustle has claimed Hunzeker is under-compensated compared to comparable positions in the area.

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Its Time for Government to get a clue, the well can be pumped Dry,and the continued astronomical outrageous salaries and benefits for politicians, while bleeding the people will stop somewhere unless agencies wake up. how much is one manipulator worth? if you look deep, most are a dead weight. its the ones he delegates to and the ones they delegate to who prosper the government and they often bleed so some undeserving stuffed shirt can scarf up the money, by playing the agency leaders, who are overpaid for their lack of wisdom in handing out the cash.
Posted by Frank Kirkland on January 25, 2013

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