The big bucks 

Stan Lieberman stopped by a few days ago to complain about the exhorbitant salaries paid to administrators at Valencia Community College. Lieberman used to work there as a contract computer programmer and claims he saw firsthand how top administrators make a lot and do a little.

Generally, people's complaining about ex-employers holds little interest for this columnist, sour grapes being what they are. But Lieberman isn't your typical slinger of mud. He's actually quite charming, in a Woody Allen sort of way. I give him extra points for being a geek who realizes that very few people will be excited by the details of his work.

He doesn't have a bad word to say about the college itself. "I have nothing against Valencia," he says. "It's the people downtown. They are isolated. It's like a palace there."

He's referring to Valencia's administration, which is housed in a downtown office. It's those folks that chap Lieberman's hide.

Always on the lookout for an excuse to publish the salaries of public officials, I decided it was time for a little Labor Day pay survey. It's a slow news week.

It turns out that at $173,740 a year, it is good to be the president. Valencia vice presidents -- all six of them -- aren't shopping at Goodwill either. The highest paid grosses $145,032, while the lowest limps along at $102,362. (That's an interim position, which explains the meager check.) Provosts for the four campuses make between $118,745, in Osceola, and $95,000, at the East campus. (Again, that's an interim job.)

As a reality check -- and an excuse to publish more salaries -- I checked with Seminole Community College. There the president squeaks by on $163,000 a year, while the four vice presidents pull down $110,252 each. Very egalitarian.

So your parents were correct -- it pays to stay in school.

It's (almost) party time!

On Aug. 28, the mayor's Downtown Strategic Transition Team got together en masse to chat, catch up and figure out exactly what they're supposed to be doing. Though we are months into the process, and the exercise is officially scheduled to end Sept. 25, I still get the feeling that some members of the DSTT don't exactly know what the hell is going on.

Nonetheless, they did agree on some substantive issues: that redeveloping the Tavistock-Jaymont Block is high on the list of priorities, as is breathing some life into Church Street. But most importantly, they agree that Orlando doesn't drink enough. And to correct that problem, they've agreed that bar hours need to be longer. If the mayor agrees, too, this town could be in for one king-hell bender.

The DSTT's recommendation is for a 3 a.m. closing on weeknights, and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. They think the city should create a downtown entertainment district, along with other entertainment districts to be named later. Basically, any bar that complains loudly enough just might get its own entertainment district.

A public hearing is set for Sept. 8 on this and all other issues mulled by the DSTT; all agree that will be exciting.

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