Correction & Update: I was contacted by Reagan Walker, Director of Administrative Services for the Lake Worth Drainage District, that the information provided on the Open the Books website is inaccurate. She states, “As you will see, the information still does not match the website.” Reagan offered the following salary information from their records:
- Robert Brown, Executive Director annual salary – $190,964
- Patrick Martin, P.E., District Engineer annual salary – $154,731
- Jim Fandrey, P.E., Director of Right of Way annual salary – $127,899
- Karen Hoyt, Director of Finance annual salary – $135,137
Original article begins here:
Most southern Palm Beach County residents have never heard of the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD); however, it exists and its management team is raking in serious money. Many Palm Beach County property owners will see the line item for the LWDD on the non-ad valorem assessment section of their property tax bill next month. The LWDD has 20 major water control structures and numerous minor structures in southeastern Palm Beach County. Last month the LWDD board approved its 2015 fiscal year budget of $14.5 million of taxpayer funds, over 50 percent of which, goes to its employees in salary and benefits. While $7.9 million is going to fund salaries, only slightly more that $6 million is going for non-employee related expenses.
Robert M. Brown is the Executive Director and according to www.openbooks.com, is earning a salary of $360,323.01. Patrick Martin, Director Of Engineering & Right Of Way, is not far behind taking in $253,815.70 and his assistant, James Fandrey rakes in $251,000.31. Karen Hoyt, a C.P.A. and the LWDD treasurer, brings in $233,511.20. According to the most recent figures available by the State of Florida, the per capita income for Palm Beach County is $55,628.
Thirty-four employees are listed on the LWDD’s website and the elected Board of Supervisors consists of five individuals who do not earn large salaries; however, it is the Board that approves the District’s budget. James Alderman, who has served on the Board since 2003 earns $6,500 for the position and Harry Raucher, President of LWDD, earned $20,100 in 2013 and $10,500 in 2012.
The LWDD provides a vital function for southeastern Palm Beach County residents, of which, many were under the impression was handled by the much wider known South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The staff at SFWMD are well-paid as well. Just two intergovernmental & outreach representatives earned a combined $292,321.92 of taxpayer money in 2013. As all of the state’s five executive directors, SFWMD executive director, Blake Guillory’s salary is capped at $165,000. What is interesting is, while the executive director of the entire SFWMD earns $165,000, the LWDD executive director takes in $360,323.01.