People who have lived in Indian River County for many years understand the importance of mosquito control, particularly after Hurricane David in 1979.
Director Doug Carlson seems to operate his District “under the radar.” Residents never attend public meetings, there appear to be no political issues, except for a few years ago when a few people criticized the District for wasting money without pointing to anything in particular.
However, last month on September 8, 2020, the Taxpayers Association of Indian River County held a virtual Mosquito Forum with five candidates running for the Mosquito Control District Board.
During their opening remarks, only two of the candidates, Jeff Andros and Vada Mossavat, commented on the lack of financial oversight by the current Board.
Mr. Andros, running for Seat One, said: “I’m running because Mosquito Control is…one of the best kept secrets…where does the money go and how it is spent…I don’t believe it is spent well…I don’t believe it is spent with the taxpayer in mind and I’d like to change that.”
Ms. Mossavat, running for Seat Three, said that “Personnel costs are higher than they are in other counties. Bloated salaries and lack of transparency at the Mosquito Control District are just a few of the reasons we need new blood on the board.”
In fact, according to Ms. Mossavat, “Employee salaries at the district went up and average of 45% between 2016 and 2019. One jumped 84% in that same time. What’s more, the current board voted AGAINST evaluating Director Carlson’s performance, even though he’s pulling $151K a year. The board isn’t doing its job if it isn’t evaluating the Director and any expense that big.”
According to public records, Director Carlson has a salary of $ 151,158.75, the Assistant Director has a salary of $ 118,332.52 and the Administrative Manager has a salary of $ 101,397.00. That’s $ 370,888.27, or 6% of the District’s $ 6.1 million budget.
Michael Hudson, the Research Entomologist has a salary of $ 112,443.91, only $ 11,046.92 more than the Administrative Manager.
Once again, according to public records, Director Carlson’s salary increased 33% from 2015 to 2019, all based on merit, while the Board voted against evaluating his performance.
Contrast this with the Brevard, FL. Mosquito District where, with a 2020-2021 budget of $ 10,743,485, District Director Joseph Faella receives a salary of $ 85,941.44. And the St. Lucie County, FL Mosquito District where the Director receives $ 104,208.
Once again, Mr. Andros said he is running because “…I don’t believe it [the money] is spent well…
Ms. Mossavat said that “Personnel costs are higher than they are in other counties.”