Tallahassee, Fla. — This afternoon, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, an independently-elected member of the Florida Cabinet, sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis notifying him of her decision to decline the 3% state employee pay raise passed by the Legislature this year. Her senior leadership, including her Assistant Commissioner, two Deputy Commissioners, and two Deputy Chiefs of Staff, will also decline the pay raise.
Commissioner Fried also encouraged the Governor, his senior leadership, and senior agency leadership under his purview to join her in this effort. As her letter notes, “given the unprecedented challenges Florida faces, we who share the opportunity and responsibility to lead our state must make difficult choices together. I trust that you will join us in this decision of fiscal responsibility and accountability to the people of Florida.”
See the full text of the letter below.
Governor Ron DeSantis
Executive Office of the Governor
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
September 17, 2020
As you know, in March the Florida Legislature passed HB 5001, which in part enacts a 3 percent pay increase for state employees in the 2020-21 fiscal year budget. This pay increase is long-awaited and long-deserved by the tens of thousands of hardworking Florida state employees, serving for over a decade without a raise.
However, economic instability from the COVID-19 pandemic has created a looming $5.4 billion state budget shortfall, prompting conversations about difficult state financial decisions to come. Floridians are no strangers to these conversations, with 1.4 million unemployed Floridians struggling to make ends meet.
Given these historic challenges and our state’s dire economic forecast, I write today to inform you that I will decline the 3 percent increase to my state salary. Our Assistant Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, and Deputy Chiefs of Staff will also decline the increase to their salaries. The salary data submitted by our Division of Administration will reflect this decision.
I encourage you to follow this example and similarly decline your salary increase, and encourage your senior leadership, and that of the state agencies under your purview, to do the same.
Given the unprecedented challenges Florida faces, we who share the opportunity and responsibility to lead our state must make difficult choices together. I trust that you will join us in this decision of fiscal responsibility and accountability to the people of Florida.
Commissioner of Agriculture
cc: Joey Hicks, Director of Administration, Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services