Article Courtesy of The
By Larry Barszewski
Published November 28, 2018
Almost $11,000 a month. That’s what Brenda Snipes
will be receiving in pension benefits when she resigns in January as the
Broward County Supervisor of Elections.
came after she endured heavy criticism for Broward’s slow
vote-counting after the Nov. 6 election and other issues
that followed: 2,040 ballots went missing during the
state-ordered recount; her office opened 205 provisional
early-voting ballots before the county’s Canvassing Board
determined their validity; and the county’s reporting of the
machine recount missed the state deadline by two minutes. On
top of that, the ballot her office designed may have led
thousands of voters to miss the U.S. Senate election between
Rick Scott and Bill Nelson because of its placement under a
lengthy set of instructions.
“It really raises the question, on top of everything else,
why she’s being excessively compensated for doing a poor
job. That’s the added insult to injury,” said Dominic
Calabro. He is president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, a
nonprofit, nonpartisan government watchdog group based in
Tallahassee that has been critical of the generous pension
benefits elected officials receive.
“It just leaves additional salt in the wound,” Calabro said.
When Snipes walks away
from her $178,865-a-year job, she’ll be eligible to collect
almost $130,000 a year in state pensions for her combined 50
years as a public school educator and elected official.
Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda C. Snipes
waves goodbye to the media, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at the Broward
Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill. Broward County
reported their recount results with 52 minutes to spare Sunday. (My
opinion: After creating havoc for nearly two weeks!)
She already earns $4,880 a month for her time as a teacher and school
administrator. She has been receiving that pension in addition to her
supervisor’s salary ever since she was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush
to the position in 2003. She has won election to the office four times
Based on salary information and state retirement rules, the South
Florida Sun Sentinel determined Snipes, 75, stands to add another $5,909
a month for her 15 years as supervisor, roughly $71,000 a year. State
officials said they could not provide information on Snipes’ new pension
because they had not calculated it and would not do so until requested
Snipes has not responded to emails requesting comment about her
pensions. Eugene Pettis, an attorney who represented Snipes during the
recent recounts, declined to comment.
Calabro said Snipes will also benefit from annual cost-of-living
increases, averaging between 2 percent and 3 percent, that will add
thousands of dollars to her pensions each year.
While Calabro knows the payments Snipes will receive are legal, he said
such generous pension plans have all but disappeared for the average
person working in the private sector.
“While she’s entitled to it, a lot of Floridians are resentful of it,”
said Calabro, who has pushed for additional pension reforms. He said if
the Legislature doesn’t come through, he expects petitioners will put a
constitutional amendment on the ballot to end such payments to elected
The average annual pension for elected officials in the state retirement
plan in 2017 was $53,223.