Brian Trotier, who has been serving as interim leader at the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. since last October, has been given a 25 percent pay raise by the organization’s board. He will now be paid $12,500 a month, up from $10,000 a month.
“Mr. Trotier has done an excellent job during a difficult time and we are fortunate he is willing to stay until the job is done,” SEDC Board Chairman D. Cruz Gonzalez was quoted in a press release as saying.
Trotier is one of the only people employed by the city to be getting a pay raise in a year marked by salary freezes and cuts to pay and benefits across the city’s workforce. He said he’s turned down several offers to work elsewhere in order to stay at SEDC until the organization gets a new full-time leader.
The consultant pointed out that the $10,000 a month he’s been pulling in since October is significantly less than the $12,000 to $15,000 that was originally budgeted for the position. And, because Trotier is hired as an independent contractor, he doesn’t get benefits from the city. That saves the city a considerable amount of money, he said.
“Benefits don’t apply to me, I’ve got no retirement plan, no insurance, no disability, I pay them all myself,” Trotier said. “To compare me to a city employee with full benefits is like comparing apples to oranges.”
The raise comes at a time when the future of SEDC is uncertain. Following a wave of scandals last year, there have been strong hints from the Mayor’s Office that a major overhaul of the city’s redevelopment agencies is underway. Earlier this year, SEDC put the search for a new president on hold under pressure from Mayor Jerry Sanders.
Gonzalez said the executive search is still on hold until the SEDC board gets a clear message from the Mayor’s Office about whether it will continue to exist as an organization.
“It would be foolish to hire someone now, when we’re in such a state of turmoil,” Gonzalez said.
Trotier was also given the new title of acting president/CEO. The new title was an effort to clarify Trotier’s position at the organization, said SEDC Board Chairman D. Cruz Gonzalez.
“He’s been there awhile, and we felt ‘interim’ didn’t accurately reflect his position,” Gonzalez said. “The new position doesn’t mean he has any more responsibilities, it’s purely a change in title.”