Demings’ pay will rise about $45,000 to $227,812. He previously voted against the switch.

Commissioners noted they each made less than counterparts in Brevard, Seminole and Volusia counties, all of which have populations under 700,000. Orange County has twice as many residents.

Hours before the vote, Cynthia Harris, who finished six votes behind first-year District 6 Commissioner Michael Scott in the August 2022 primary election, ripped the board for the hefty hike.

She called it a “slap in the face” to county residents struggling to pay rising housing costs.

“If you can resolve giving yourself a 25% raise and find it in the budget, you can resolve the homelessness problem that we have here in this community, the high crime that we have in this community, the food insecurities that we have in this community,” Harris said. “We, as taxpayers, entrusted you to make better decisions for us and giving yourself a 25% raise is outrageous.”

She suggested commissioners put the issue on the ballot “and let us vote for your raises.”

The state methodology follows a statutory formula and data calculated by the Florida legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research. It is used to set the salaries of Orange County’s constitutional officers — the clerk of courts, comptroller, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, tax collector and sheriff.

Commissioner Emily Bonilla tried to carve the mayor out of the pay increase.

But her proposal to amend the ordinance failed to get a second from the board.

“I’m not comfortable making this determination in a moment that the mayor is not here for the discussion or for the vote,” said Commissioner Nicole Wilson, who voted against adopting the state formula.

Bonilla also voted no.

According to the county charter, the mayor chairs the commission and is a voting member.

Bonilla argued that other mayors across the state with higher salaries than Demings “have a lot more responsibilities. …They don’t really have a County Administrator like we do. They do all the job themselves.”

County Administrator Byron Brooks, a Demings’ appointee, disagreed, pointing out that mayors in both Miami-Dade and Duvall counties have an administrative officer whose role is similar to his own.

The board also approved without discussion a 5% increase in base pay for non-bargaining employees “meeting performance standards,” effective Oct. 1, the beginning of fiscal year 2023-24.

The pay increases affect 3,574 employees.

Yvette Best, Orange County’s new human resources director, proposed the increases citing “pay competitiveness challenges in this tight labor market” to help attract and retain qualified talent.