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Jacobsen turns down CRA raise due to economy

By Staff | Oct 23, 2009

Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency Executive Director John Jacobsen is turning down a pay increase, saying he had second thoughts about accepting the raise after considering current economic conditions.
CRA board members approved the raise Tuesday, which included a 3 percent cost of living increase and a 4 percent performance bonus.
Jacobsen, who makes $107,500 annually, already had the cost of living factored into his three-year contract.
“I sat down and thought about it and said, ‘These are hard times,'” he said. “I decided even though I would love to get a raise … I was much more gratified with the performance review than anything else.”
Jacobsen said he had made the decision by Wednesday morning, but was unable to alert anyone until later that day.
At the same time, Councilmember Eric Grill sent out a memo to city council, lambasting the pay raise while simultaneously stating that council members should consider taking control of the CRA or disbanding it.
Wednesday’s memo came on the heels of another memo from Grill.
Dated Tuesday, the memo states that Grill gives the CRA a vote of “no confidence,” and that Jacobsen is functioning like a “loose canon.”
Grill said he is not calling for the CRA to be taken apart, he is merely stating that city council should explore its options.
“All I hear is complaints that no development is going on down there (in the CRA), and there’s nothing being done about it,” he said. “And I never said that he was a loose canon, I said that he is operating like one.”
While Jacobsen agrees that development has been slow in the CRA’s district, he said there is work being done, progress being made.
Jacobsen cited the rental assistance and facade grant programs that are aiding small businesses and the relocation of Sweetbay Supermarket.
“We don’t have high-rise buildings going up, but who does?” he asked. “Development has slowed, but it doesn’t mean we’re not moving forward with smaller projects.”