Luckiest man on Earth?

I nominate Percy Williamson, Leisure Services Director of Daytona Beach, Fla., whose annual salary is $117,508.92, according to public records obtained by the Daytona Post.

How hard could it be to direct leisure services in Daytona Beach? What sort of duties does this job involve? Supervising the senior citizens shuffleboard league? Organizing beach volleyball tournaments?

Mr. Williamson is one of 22 Daytona Beach municipal employees with annual salaries in excess of $100,000 — in a community (pop. 64,183) where the median household income is $25,439 and more than 23% of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the Census Bureau. The combined salaries of these 22 top bureaucrats amounts to a total $2.7 million.

In addition to those paid $100K+ in salaries alone, another 44 municipal employees in Daytona Beach collect total annual compensation (salary + 31% in benefits) in excess of $100K. To be a city employee in The World’s Most Famous Beach is thus to belong to a semi-tropical bureaucratic elite.

By comparison, the annual salary of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives is $169,300 — 44% more than Mr. Williamson is paid for directing leisure services in Daytona. But what member of Congress wouldn’t rather be among the palms and ocean breezes of the Volusia County shore?

The highest-paid municipal employee in Daytona Beach, city manager James Chisholm, earns an annual salary of $170,693.12, which is slightly more than his congressman (Rep. John Mica) is paid. Plus, Chisholm doesn’t have to deal with Nancy Pelosi or shiver through D.C. winters.

What a joyous thing, to be one of those 22 fortunate souls with six-figure salaries on the payroll of Daytona Beach — each earning four times the median household income of the taxpayers who foot the bill! It is with profound admiration (and no small measure of raw envy) that we salute these noble public servants.

We hear a lot of talk about the “growing gap between rich and poor” nowadays. Yet there are 66 Daytona Beach city employees with salaries of at least $76,000 a year — three times the median household income in the community. To a large measure the “income gap” in Daytona Beach is between city employees and everybody else. It makes the British raj in India look like an exercise in egalitarianism.

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