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New Miami Springs city clerk to start April 1


Special to the Miami Herald

Miami Springs city leaders voted 3-2 at the Jan. 27 council meeting to boost the starting salary of its new city clerk by 4.38 percent before she starts work on April 1.

“I saw that you listed the starting salary rate and would like the council to consider my salary offer for $75,000,” clerk’s seat finalist Erika Gonzalez-Santamaria wrote in a Jan. 15 email to the city, seeking an additional $3,150.

The reason for the raise, Gonzalez wrote, was because she is currently making $73,000 as city clerk for Southwest Ranches, “with a raise due in May for my annual review.”

“In light of what we’ve heard lately, I would ask that she start at 73 ($73,000),” said Councilman George Lobb, who was referring to an active open forum that took place minutes earlier. “We’re looking at cutting wherever we can.”

Police officers squabbled over pension-contribution hikes that they deem unfair amid top-heavy salaries in leadership ranks and out-of-control spending at the golf course and other areas.

“I would respectfully ask that you consider the 75 ($75,000),” Gonzalez said before the 3-2 vote, with council members George Lobb and Billy Bain dissenting.

Miami Springs has been actively working to fill the clerk’s seat since its former clerk, Magali Valls, abruptly resigned from her $104,463-per-year post last July.

Valls filled in as an interim clerk for two additional months, earning $50 an hour.

Officials sifted through some 30 applications for the city clerk’s seat, which has a salary range of $71,850 to $99,014 per year.

Suzanne Hitaffer, who earns $67,167 annually and served as the interim city clerk, will fall back into her assistant city clerk position. Records show that Hitaffer is in the state’s deferred retirement program, which shows an exit date of April 30, 2016.

“All the benefits look great,” Gonzalez wrote in a Jan. 15 email to the city’s human resources department.

Some of the benefits include:

• 12 sick days a year;

• 12 vacation days;

• 3 floating holidays;

• 9 city-observed holidays;

• 100 percent coverage of medical-, dental- and vision-insurance premiums; an employee-designated benefits pension, with the city contributing 12.48 percent and the employee contributing 7.95 percent. Some of the requirements for the city clerk position include the ability to speak Spanish, hold a valid driver’s license, be a U.S. citizen and have a bachelor’s degree in public administration. The clerk is also responsible for overseeing city elections, legal advertising and public-records requests.

Gonzalez will assume her new position on Tuesday, April 1.

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