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Legislative leaders offer up raises to top staff as state workers go without

Florida’s new legislative leaders handed out hefty raises and salaries to many of their top staff and newly hired talent even as thousands of state workers went for a sixth year without a bump in pay.

Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, who were sworn in last month, immediately hired new chiefs of staff and paid them more than taxpayers pay state Cabinet officials. They are paying 62 top policy advisors and staff directors more than $100,000 a year. And they gave salary increases totaling $252,000 to their 17 highest paid employees.

Giving the most in raises was Gaetz, R-Niceville, who promoted 10 people already making more than $100,000 a year in state jobs. The biggest promotion went to his top aide, Chris Clark, whose salary jumped from $77,000 as an aide in Gaetz’s legislative office to $150,000 as the Senate president’s chief of staff. Clark started in the Legislature in 1994, making $12,771 a year. Gaetz said his salary is commensurate with those who have held the job before.

Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, gave more modest pay increases to his highest earning staff. Seven employees, who earned more than $100,00, got raises totaling $52,000. Story here.

None of these salaries, however, can be found on Gov. Rick Scott's transparency site, The legislature has chosen not to provide its information for taxpayers to inspect their salaries. Here is the current list, as of Nov. 27, as provided to the Herald/Times. There are some changes. For example, former House chief of staff Mathew Bahl is no longer employed in the House but is still listed here:  Download Legislative staff 2012-13

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