Another pay cut hitting SF City Hall

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For the second year in a row, elected officials will likely take a pay cut.

Salaries of the mayor, members of the Board of Supervisors and other elected officials are set annually based on a voter-approved formula that includes a provision to trigger a reduction when city labor unions agree to wage concessions during tough economic times.

The provision was first triggered last year, when a 2.45 percent reduction in pay was put in place for the current fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30. The average salary for the top eight elected positions is roughly $188,000 a year.

The Civil Service Commission, charged with adjusting the salaries, determined the percentage with the weighted average by which workers had their own pay reduced.

San Francisco again is faced with closing a deficit of nearly $500 million, and the majority of city unions again agreed to salary concessions. Today, the commission will begin the process of determining how much to reduce the salaries of the elected officials.

The provision does not specify the amount, but says it must be “comparable” to what other city workers gave up. Most city workers agreed — while others remain negotiating — to give up about 4 percent in wages.

Factoring into the commission’s decision will be that each year, the salary levels of the elected officials are adjusted for inflation. This year, the adjustment rate is 2.6 percent. With no reductions, the pay of the 11 members of the Board of Supervisors would hit the six-figure mark for the first time.

Mayor Gavin Newsom voluntarily took a 15 percent pay cut halfway through this fiscal year, for an annual total of $228,019. The commission had set his salary at $246,689.
He also promised to impose a 15 percent pay cut on his paychecks again for the upcoming fiscal year. If the commission sets it at $246,689, then his salary for next year will be $209,686.

“The mayor believes strongly it’s important to lead by example at a time when families and businesses across The City are also cutting back,” Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said.

Supervisors, the lowest-paid elected officials, were supposed to earn $98,660 this year, but after the 2.45 percentage cut, they took home $96,243.

However, six members of the board, including Supervisor John Avalos, imposed a greater reduction of pay than was imposed by the commission.

Avalos said he decided to give up the pay to send the message that everyone has to sacrifice in an effort to preserve services for residents. As the commission will determine his salary next fiscal year, Avalos said, “Whatever they decide, I will have to live with [it]. A pay cut will be very difficult for me.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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