Cost of Living in Key West vs. Salary


Dear Editor,

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is currently advertising for a “Child Protective Investigator” in Key West. The salary range is $ 39,600.00 under the “Other Personnel Services” (OPS) status of no benefits except health insurance. All non-Key West applicants should be aware of the October 31, 2014 Key West Citizen newspaper report that stated Nicole Mayo a planner with the City of Key West resigned declaring, “I can’t afford to live here anymore on my salary.” Mayo’s resigning salary was $ 44,402 after six years of employment.

How can the DCF “leadership” attempt to hire a qualified person knowing the high economic requirements of Key West? Why burden a CPI with the stress of “just getting by” when doing one of the most important jobs in Key West?

Ironically, it was last year that a Miami-Dade DCF CPI supervisor was caught substitute teaching 50 days within eight months during his paid DCF 50 work days.

Unlike most Key West jobs the CPI can’t receive tips.

Mike Sawyer

Denver, CO

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  One Response to “Cost of Living in Key West vs. Salary”

  1. Dear Mike,

    There IS a possible solution to the pesky persistence of Key West’s affordable housing shortage. You just gotta think Big, Mike !
    Big, as in Federal Government.
    Big, as in Airbus.

    All the City Parental Units gotta do is make sure the pitch to the Feds is ambitious enough and – this is important – that the Lobbying budget is Big enough.
    (good people have to stay motivated, even with the loftiest of community ideals)
    This solution is gonna take committed Pros.

    So: Available KW resources? Pictures of homeless people on the streets of Key West. Pictures of KOTS.
    More pictures of Key West destitution. See: The Feds may think that Key West is wealthy, but ‘our’ lobbyists will produce vivid, copious and heartrending evidence to show that dry statistics – like median income levels and average house prices – yield up a terribly distorted picture of Key West’s crying need for FEDERAL financial help.

    Key West just doesn’t have the SPACE to deal with affordable housing.
    “Look!”, we tell the Fed reviewers, “The residential units currently wasted on under paid members of the island’s nameless ‘workforce’ could be put to much higher purpose if they were freed up for sale to Qualified, upper income, out of county, second home buyers.” You know? People with serious money to invest.

    Furthermore, there’s a vast amount of Already Existing ! Section 8 housing available, just a hop, skip and a jump from our Key West island home. By plane.

    Both Tamiami Airport and Homestead AFB are even closer than Miami, for goodness sake !
    South Dade County can be nattily verbo- reconstrued as an ultra convenient, working class suburb of Key West!

    Suitably reimagined, droves of eager, undemanding “local” workers could soon, with enough public transportation, be just “Minutes Away from Duval.”
    All this, with the simple introduction of a couple of Federally funded, Workforce Airbuses into the island home’s affordability picture !
    Echo Zulu, Mike!
    E-Z ! Just picture it:

    – 300 – 400 interchangeable worker bees, per planeload, starting at, say 4 or 5 am, every day?
    – One hour round trips, Max? That’s, what? 2000 happy, new, let’s call them “New Members of the Island ‘Community’ “, coming in to work, daily, with absolutely no beefs about wage levels?
    – An already Federally funded, ‘extended’ island home in suburban South Dade. At no cost to the City?
    – A thousand KW residential units freed up for, say, Time Share use?
    Nice, huh, Mike?

    How can we concerned citizen/munchkins help “Community Leaders” do this?
    Simple: We lobby now for an FDOT Public Transportation grant.
    It needs to include both 2, maybe 3 Airbuses, plus full operating and startup costs.

    What Key West needs to request is a 5 year
    ( infinitely renewable ) Federal Transportation “Pilot Program” to help ease the burden of, uhhh, Main Street folks down here.

    We tress that these mostly theoretical, but Vividly posited, regular island “folks” from both Key West (the deported ones) and South Dade ( our new,, ultra low income helpers) have been wantonly underserved by callous Federal program creators since 1929.
    Till now.

    Mike, your continuing vocal support could help answer a Crying Need from under represented members of – let’s call them: the community!
    … who ever they actually turn out to be.

    You just gotta make sure that the advertising pitch is right…
    and the budget’s big enough.


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