JAA chief executive did a good job but not getting a bonus
October 23, 2012 - 6:52am

Jacksonville Aviation Authority Executive Director Steve Grossman received plenty of pats on the back Monday — but no more money.

Looking back over his performance during the past year, a committee of the authority board gave him good marks, citing his success in reorganizing the agency, his representation of the organization and his push to use aviation land for a variety of purposes.

“I think he’s done an incredible job,” said board member Chester Aikens, the committee’s chairman.

But given the economic climate, Aikens said, it wasn’t appropriate to pay anything on top of Grossman’s annual $280,000 salary.

Instead, the panel said it would get together next year and figure out some way to recognize Grossman’s accomplishment in a non-financial manner.

“We do want to do something for him,” said board member Ernie Isaac.

It’s unclear what that something might be, with Aikens saying it could range from a plaque to a gift certificate to a trip.

Putting off the decision until January is so the committee has time to think up something appropriate, Aikens said, “not so we can sneak it [a raise] in through the back door.”

The issue of raises, especially those bestowed by independent authority boards, raised the ire of the Jacksonville City Council and others in recent months.

Last month the Jacksonville Port Authority came under fire after its board voted to give its chief executive officer a 5 percent raise to $336,000 and a $50,000 bonus. That plan was put on hold after CEO Paul Anderson asked the board to postpone it.

Although the council has some say over the authorities’ budgets, it does not have direct control over their finances.

Still, Aikens said, the boards have a responsibility to take stock of the city’s general fiscal shape. “You can’t say, ‘I’m an independent authority and can do what I want to do,’ ” he said. “We’re part of a team.”

Grossman said the decision was fine with him.

“My view is I’m well-compensated,” he said, adding that he appreciates the board’s expression of support.

“I can’t do what I do without their trust.”

timothy.gibbons@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4103

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