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Broward commissioners question plan to raise a top salary amid cuts

Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry asked commissioners Tuesday to hire a new public works director and raise the salary range for the position up to about $211,000 a year.

That didn't sit well with union leader Will Vargas who questionned how the county could boost a top salary while reducing paychecks of other workers through planned furloughs.

Commissioners agreed to hire Thomas Hutka but delayed action on changing the salary range until Aug. 25. Henry had proposed paying Hutka $183,000 but that's above the current salary range cap. Mayor Stacy Ritter suggested Henry should go back to Hutka and negotiate.

Hutka's last public sector job was as the city manager of Port Huron Michigan. He left that job for ''personal reasons'' and declined to be specific in an interview. Hutka said that some business leaders fought his initiatives, but during his tenure he said he reduced the commercial vacancy rate, filled an industrial park, won a major city award and secured grants.