Not only does he make $36,000.00 per year, but he also has a generous yearly allowance for travel ($5,000.00), car ($9,000.00), cell phone ($1,200.00), and a miscellaneous expense account ($3,600.00).
In addition, he also receives medical, dental, life and disability insurance coverage costing at least $10,000.00 per year. (*UPDATED BELOW)
All courtesy of North Miami taxpayers.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the median income for an entire household (up to four persons) in the United States is $54,462.00 per year. Those ordinary folks don’t have expense allowances or free insurance, either.
With a total salary and benefits package worth nearly $65,000.00, little wonder Michael is so desperate to keep his part time job.
All he has to do to keep the river of cash (and perks) flowing is run for re-election every four years.
Conveniently, as the supervisor of city elections, Michael is in the position to make sure that any potential opponent is disqualified from running against him.
The best part of all – for Michael, anyway – is that he’s got plenty of free time to spend your money.
Section 2-284 of the North Miami Charter states that “the city clerk shall not be expected or required to be present at city hall during normal business hours of the city government.”
The only thing he has to do is pop in once in a while to collect his substantial paycheck.
In addition to supervising an election once every four years, when he does show up at city hall, he gets to boss around the full time clerk’s office employees. You know … the ones who do the actual work for roughly half his salary.
Oh, and he has to sit through two city council meetings a month.
Where he gets to display his “arrogant buffoonery” by injecting his unwanted, worthless opinions on topics he knows nothing about.
So, yeah. It’s a sweet gig.
But, here’s the best part.
In addition to his lavish salary and all those perks, North Miami taxpayers picked up the full tab for 48 days’ worth of Michael’s globetrotting “working” vacations.
In 2016, during his considerable free time, Michael traveled six, count ’em SIX, times across the country and across the ocean.
To the tune of $15,644.16.
Yes, you read that right.
Here is Michael’s 2016 “working” vacation itinerary:
- 1/9/16-1/15/16: 2016 Laserfiche Empower Conference, Long Beach, CA $1,944.00
- 3/4/16-3/10/16: National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference, Washington, DC $2,054.80
- 5/5/16-5/16/16: Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, China $5,704.60
- 5/20/16-5/26/16: IIMC 70th Annual Conference, Omaha, NE $2,150.67
- 11/15/16-11/20-16: 2016 National League of Cities Summit, Pittsburgh, PA $1,688.76
- 11/22/16-11/30/16: Association of Democratic Service Officers Annual Conference, Nottingham, Great Britain $2,101.33
Even though only two of these trips, the Laserfiche and the IIMC conferences, were specific to municipal clerk duties, it’s not as if Michael does any of the heavy lifting in his office. He has people for that.
The two yearly conferences sponsored by the National League of Cities are held for local elected officials and their staff members. Even though Michael is one of a handful of elected (not appointed) city clerks, he is not a voting member of the city council, nor is he responsible for setting any of the legislative policies discussed at these seminars.
In other words, Michael had no legitimate reason to be there.
Then again, “free” lunch.
Then there was Michael’s controversial trip to China in May as one of a seven member “delegation” from North Miami.
On his Travel Request (page 107), Michael stated that the purpose of his trip was to “visit local Chinese official [sic] in Tianjin and Beijing to market investment opportunities in North Miami and showcase current and future economic development incentives.”
Nowhere in the North Miami Charter does the city clerk’s duties include the marketing of investment opportunities or the showcasing of economic development. There was absolutely no justification whatsoever for Michael to go on this trip.
And yet, his travel expenses were mysteriously approved.
But, wait. There’s MORE!
So he could attend a TWO DAY CONFERENCE!
Yes, you read that right!
But, here’s the real kicker.
North Miami taxpayers not only foot the bill for Michael’s paid nine day vacay, but he closed the city clerk’s office for two full days before Thanksgiving and took THREE OF HIS STAFF MEMBERS with him across the pond!
For seven of those days, clerk’s office employees Rafael Pedron, Cheryl Scott and Guerty Genosier joined Michael on his transatlantic voyage for the Conference 2016 of the Association of Democratic Service Officers, where this year’s theme was “Spotlight on Governance – your role, your future.” (See page 240)
Conference 2016 included “speakers and discussions on public sector reforms and the impact on Democratic Services.”
Whatever that means.
Conference organizers were “delighted that political satirist Matt Forde” was scheduled to speak at the dinner.
Michael and his entourage were subjected to two days of this grueling “work” schedule:
No wonder Michael needed seven additional taxpayer funded days in the United Kingdom to “recover” from this two day seminar.
What any of the activities listed on this “programme” has to do with the duties of municipal clerks in the United States is yet another one of life’s greatest mysteries.
The total cost of Michael & Co.’s “working” vacation?
A “bargain” $8,227.21!
That’s not including, of course, the “training” pay that the three employees received while they weren’t actually working in the clerk’s office.
Which was closed to the taxpaying public for two entire days before the Thanksgiving holiday.
But, hey. Why should Michael care? It’s not his money being flushed down the drain.
North Miami taxpayers, on the other hand, should be livid.
Then again, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Unless all of you have no problem paying for your clerk’s lavish vacations – ones that you yourselves could never afford to take – I urge one of you to seriously consider running against him.
The alternative isn’t pretty. Just imagine the financial damage Michael will be able to inflict if he’s allowed to stay in office until the year 2023.
In the meantime, you should ask your City Manager why Michael was allowed to exceed his $5,000.00 annual travel expense limit, and insist that it doesn’t happen again.
*NOTE: Newly obtained public record reflects that Michael Etienne’s Annual City Benefit Costs for insurance premiums are in the amount of $7,348.80. Accordingly, his total salary and benefits package from the City of North Miami is $62,148.80.