Tampa mayoral candidate David Straz‘s latest attack on Jane Castor accuses the former Tampa Police Chief of “double-dipping.”
Straz’s campaign is dropping a 30-second television ad Thursday criticizing Castor because “she wants” to collect both a city pension and a salary as mayor.
“It’s not right. An insider like Castor looking out for herself,” a female announcer says in the ad.
The critique has merit. In 2014 Castor, at Mayor Bob Buckhorn‘s request, agreed to stay on as chief for an additional year after her Deferred Retirement Option Plan period ended.
That meant for a year, Castor collected a $156,000 salary while also collecting her roughly $113,000 annual pension.
Castor will receive her annual pension for the rest of her life, meaning if she’s elected Mayor, she’ll be paid both the pension and a salary as Mayor, which right now is about $160,000 a year.
The ad shows an image of Castor, taken from Florida Politics, next to an empty ice cream cone. A heaping scoop of chocolate ice cream then drops into the cone as the announcer describes how much she’ll continue to collect from her pension and then another of vanilla displaying the mayor’s salary to which she’d also be entitled.
While it’s not illegal for Castor to collect both a government salary and the pension she earned from her more than 30-year career in law enforcement, so-called double-dipping is controversial.
In San Diego, for example, former Mayor Jerry Sanders accepted just a portion of his mayoral salary during his first term in office, relying instead on the pension he was collecting from his 26-year career with the city’s police department including the final six as its chief.
But Sanders received a harsh rebuke from voters in his second term when he began collecting both his pension and his full mayoral salary, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Castor’s campaign called the ad a “stunt.”
“David Straz doesn’t understand working families. He owns a $1 million dollar mausoleum, an offshore bank in Nevis, private planes, more than $170 million in art, six fancy homes, and drives around in a Bentley, so it’s not surprising he is out of touch with people who have to work for a living,” said Castor Campaign Manager Tim Wagner.
The Straz campaign later responded to those claims pointing out Straz does not personally own a bank in Nevis but, instead, the David A. Straz Foundation is an investor with nearly 10 percent stake. Straz also added that while he does own a Bentley, he’s more likely to be seen in either his Cadillac or Dodge Charger.
Meanwhile, a male announcer then says Straz would work for free if he’s elected to succeed Buckhorn as Tampa’s Mayor.
Straz is a retired banking magnate is worth nearly $500 million, so he can afford to forego the six-figure mayor’s salary.
The ad will serve as another in a long line of complaints Straz has levied against Castor over her track record as Tampa’s top law enforcement official. He’s sent out several ads over television airwaves, on social media, and in campaign mail tying Castor to the “biking while black” scandal a Tampa Bay Times investigation uncovered during her reign as chief.
Straz also recently met with a mother whose son was killed by Tampa Police officers while Castor was chief in which Straz told the media it was “possibly a cover-up.”