Mayor Carlos Gimenez Gave New Seaport Chief a 69 Percent Pay Raise

Juan Kuryla must be the happiest man working for Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who recently announced he wants property owners to swallow a 5 percent tax rate hike to balance his proposed budget. On April 29, Mayor Carlos Gimenez promoted Kuryla from deputy seaport director to the head honcho at the Port of Miami, giving the 25-year county veteran a $120,000 annual salary bump to $290,000.

Kuryla went from midlevel, six-figure bureaucrat to county-hall baller. He is now the second-highest-paid Miami-Dade employee behind County Attorney Robert Cuevas, who earns $317,000 annually and whose last raise came in 2008. We guess Gimenez can always argue he kept Kuryla on his team despite offering $10,000 less per year than the Jacksonville Port Authority. Shortly after getting his raise, Kuryla turned down JaxPort's offer to be its chief executive.

The opportunity to give Kuryla a ludicrous pay raise presented itself when the current Miami-Dade seaport director, Bill Johnson, got the inside track to become chief executive of the Beacon Council, the publicly and privately funded economic development agency, according to the blog Eye On Miami.

How ridiculous is Kurlya's new salary? Consider:

He is making $19,950 more a year than New York Gov. Andrew Coumo.

He is making $27,649 more a year than what the county paid Johnson, the career bureaucrat he's replacing.

He is making $30,300 more a year than outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller.

He is making $91,000 more a year than Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson, who has more years as a county employee yet received only a 14 percent pay raise in February.

And he is making $161,028 more a year than Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Follow Francisco Alvarado onTwitter: @thefrankness.

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