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Council debates salary for mayor’s assistant

By Staff | Oct 29, 2019

The Cape Coral City Council had an issue regarding the pay of an executive assistant who works in the City Council office, and found the problem might not be with the worker’s pay, but the description of her job and what it entails.

That is what was decided during a special City Council meeting Monday before the Committee of the Whole meeting in Conference Room 200A, where the topic was compensation for Pearl Taylor, whom mayor Joe Coviello sees as his executive assistant, even though her title doesn’t state as such, but rather as support for the mayor and council.

City Manager John Szerlag prefers to pay city workers in the 75th percentile of cities similar to Cape Coral, such as Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, etc This makes the city competitive with others and reduces the likelihood of losing them.

Most employees are in that range and received raises of 3.25 percent for this fiscal year. However, in this case, because Taylor has a rather unique job, her situation is a little less clear as she is seen as the supervisor of the other two people who work in the office, as well as serving as a trainer of new people who come in.

This brought into question, given Taylor’s many tasks, whether she sits in that 75th percentile or sits beneath it.

Taylor, who has worked with the city since 2005 first as a file clerk and then customer service representative before being promoted to research specialist, now has the official job title of Legislative Executive Assistant to the Mayor. She also fulfills many aspects of those roles and was a member of the party that went to China in June to look into commercial opportunities.

Coviello considers her virtually irreplaceable, and someone who is essentially available to him 24/7. Taylor made $57,000 last year, including $3,300 in overtime. She has worked in that capacity since 2013.

Councilmember John Gunter said the issue might not be about a raise, but about the classification of her job. He asked if the job description can be changed as well as the classification.

“Pearl plays a lead role in the office, though it’s not defined as that,” Coviello said. “We never asked her to do that. We should revisit and revamp the description and formalize the lead role.”

The consensus was that the job has evolved from what it once was to something different that doesn’t mesh with the job description, and that the pay should reflect it.

No vote was made.

Human resources said it would look at the position and address the classification at a later date.