All SF employees expected to take pay cuts

July 20, 2009 7:40:02 PM PDT
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected Tuesday to pass a budget, balanced in part by millions of dollars in concessions from the city's labor unions. Now, because those employees did their part, elected officials, including the mayor, will also have to do theirs by also taking a pay cut.

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It is up to the five-person San Francisco Civil Service Commission to set the salaries for the city's elected officials. Under the city charter, when labor unions agree to wage concessions, the commissioners are required to review and adjust the pay of the big wigs.

"It's not going to balance the budget, let's put it that way, a lot of it is symbolic too, to say that we're all in this together," commission President Morgan Gorrono said.

Currently, Mayor Gavin Newsom's salary is nearly $253,000, District Attorney Kamala Harris' is about $218,000; Sheriff Michael Hennessey takes home just over $200,000 and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting makes just under $167,000. Supervisors make $98,600. They are all in line for pay cuts.

"I think at this time of financial catastrophe, I think it's only fair that everybody shares the pain," Ting said.

Some elected officials have already taken voluntary reductions, including Public Defender Jeff Adachi and his entire staff.

"This is a difficult time and everyone needs to tighten their belts; we've certainly done this at the public defender's office," Adachi said.

This is the first time a pay cut has ever been considered. Monday, commissioners found it challenging to translate employee furloughs and other concessions into salary reductions for elected officials.

"There are so many contracts among the various unions, that adds to the quandary of how can we establish a level playing field," commission Vice President Dennis Normandy said.

The thought is the pay cut will be around 2-3 percent. The commission has decided to wait for more information before deciding exactly how much.

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