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Hollywood Finance Director Gets Raise Amid Severe Budget Cuts

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Legislative Session Coverage

HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – Hollywood fire fighters and police are fighting mad over the decision to force them to take a 12 and a half percent pay cut and a change in their pensions.

City workers were also fuming over their own pay cuts, and homeowners are seeing a 11 percent hike in taxes and fees. City officials say the cuts were a necessity to fill a 38.5 million dollar budget hole.

But on the same night it was approved, Hollywood finance director Matt Lalla got a 12-thousand dollar raise, from $110,000 to $122,000.

“It’s a slap in the face!” said Jeff Marano, the union representative for Hollywood police. “The commissioners and elected officials are telling us that everybody’s taking cuts, everybody has to share in the pain. Then the first week of the fiscal year, this gentleman gets a 12-thousand dollar raise, that’s unconscionable. “

Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark is Hollywood’s interim city manager.  She stands behind her decision saying Lalla is underpaid, is in charge of 3 departments now and plays a crucial role in fixing Hollywood’s financial mess.

She outlined it all in a memo.

“Financial urgency is a very serious thing,” said Swanson-Rivenbark.  “Teetering on bankruptcy is a fiercely important thing.  I don’t want either one of those in Hollywood’s future, so we absolutely need the right talent to pull us out of where we’ve been and push us forward to where we’re going. “

Some homeowners are also expressing their displeasure.

“Everybody’s suffering now,” said Hollywood Homeowner Barbara Epperson.  “It should be more equitable.

“I don’t think that sounds fair at all,” said resident Helen O’Sullivan.

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