By HENRY FREDERICK
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- County Manager Jim Dinneen has given rookie Sheriff Mike Chitwood lots of goodies since he took office in Jan. 1: In fact, Daytona's former top cop was able to reward his bright young gal-pal campaign manager, Janelle Holman, with a plumb job as a PR specialist shooting videos and feel-good pics with a salary of $54,000 a year, a whopping 20 grand more than what a starting deputy would make if Chitwood were to actually hire one.
And get this: Holman started her new job on Jan. 1, the actual holiday, no less. It's not as if he need anoher public relations flak, since he already had three handsomely-paid civilians in Gary Davidson, paid just shy of $99,000; Judie Edwards, earning $60,000; and Andrew Gant, hired away from the Daytona Beach News-Journal at $50,000, nearly doubling his pay, ironically from his prior job as the newspaper's Volusia County government reporter.
Between the three PIOs and Holman, The combined salaris for the three PIOs, plus Holman accounts for $263,000. That's enough dough to hire at least seven entry-level deputies at $35,000 apiece. And although Davidson finally retired after 23 years, first with Bob Vogel for six years, then Ben Johnson for 16 years and Chitwood for nearly seven months, Chitwood is looking to hire another civilian to replace him. Holman is right around the corner from Chitwood and she reports to Chitwood's hand-picked chief deputy, John Creamer, woho came over from Daytona with him.
And as if Holman's job isn't cushy enouh, a female deputy has assigned to accompany her wherever she goes to do her promotional assignments. When Chitwood started, the VCSO was short 50 deputy positions. With the first week of August already in the rear window, the number of deputy openings has swelled to 65.