City’s budget cuts igniting criticism

With The City facing a $233 million budget deficit next year, criticism over mid-year funding cuts and a hiring freeze mandated by Mayor Gavin Newsom are surfacing from the Board of Supervisors.

On Wednesday, members of the public and the legislative leaders focused attention on eight recreation director positions that are being left vacant as a result of the belt tightening.

Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said he wants to find money to ensure more directors are hired. There are 174 funded recreation director positions, said Dennis Kern, director of operations for the Recreation and Park Department.

Additionally, Supervisor Bevan Dufty blasted Newsom for not talking to him before making the cuts. Newsom has to submit his proposed budget by June 1 to the board for approval. The budget is first heard by the board’s budget committee where changes can be made.

Peskin said budget decisions made by the mayor have been “pretty unilateral and pretty much like a one way street and that only portends a disaster that none of us want.”

Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard said, “Supervisor Peskin has no reason to be so pessimistic. The mayor has worked collaboratively with the board to hammer out a balanced budget every year for four years and he will do it again this year.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

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