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Shock Report: Superintendent Sam Himmel Paid for Work She Completed

Source: Sandra Himmel: Citrus County Schools Triple Dipper Queen by Dave Jaye; Citrus Eagle 1/11/22

Himmel took the taxpayer-paid $409,708 cash pension bonus on September 30, 2021, and was supposed to retire on that date as Himmel promised in a contract with the Florida Retirement System. But the $409,708 pension cash bonus was not enough for Superintendent Sandra Himmel. Himmel petitioned for and got a special politician’s permission to continue collecting her huge $136,124 salary and avoid paying 3% of salary ($4,083 a year) into the Florida Retirement System until her current election term expires on Nov. 30, 2024. Florida taxpayers are on the hook for $36 billion in unfunded Public Employee Pension system obligations, a $1,674 liability for every man, woman and child in Florida.

I hope you're seated for this one. Our Superintendent is collecting money for work she did. Before you slip into phony outrage over this ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did she establish her own salary? No. In fact, she either ran unopposed or was voted in with over 50% in each of her elections meaning a majority of voters have felt she is worth this amount for almost two decades. Thus "continue collecting her 'huge' salary" means nothing.

  2. Did she change policy to receive special treatment? No. The petition process has been established for all elected officials. If you don't like it, blame the process rather than the person, who did nothing wrong here but exercise the options available to her (and everyone in her position.)

  3. What are we actually mad about? She would have been paid this anyway. Your opinion might be the job is overpaid or too generous with its benefits, but that's a procedural problem, not a personal problem. There's no reason to blame the Superintendent here.

The last part of this is my favorite. It's like if you forget to do something your wife has asked you repeatedly to do and she finally screams, "if you can't even remember to pick up your shoes out of the hallway, how is this marriage going to last??" The non sequitur between Superintendent Himmel collecting benefits she's earned and the fiscal irresponsibility of the entire state public employee pension is a fantastic reach at outrage.

Look, I appreciate watchdogs so I applaud the research and time that went into producing this because it doesn't appear anything is factually wrong. It just reaches some awfully farfetched conclusions when framed in a different context.


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