Love Me, Love My Paycheck

After asking the city’s workforce to accept 10 percent cuts in compensation to help avoid a fiscal disaster, councilmembers Kansen Chu, Xavier Campos and Nancy Pyle voted Tuesday against docking their own pay. Only a money masochist would enjoy taking home less cash at the end of the day, but the trio represent three-quarters of the council’s four biggest union backers—Ash Kalra said he wanted to empathize with the plight of his less-privileged brethren. The rhetoric reached lofty new heights by the time dais discussion reached Chu, who worried that future councilmembers could be forced to moonlight in other jobs when they should be resting at home to “replenish themselves” with the fruits of their labor. Campos went a step further by wondering how a single-income family of four could survive on a councilmember’s $81,000 annual salary—he didn’t bother to mention that he’s single and has no kids. Pyle went a different route by asking the city staff questions about how social security would be affected and everyone in the City Hall chambers went to sleep. One thing everyone on the council wanted to make clear is that continued pay cuts jeopardizes the city’s ability to attract talented individuals to run for political office—and then every one of them added that they didn’t get into politics for the money. Councilmember Donald Rocha, playing the role of awkward freshman to a “T,” summed up the exercise by noting that he thought it was weird that the council votes on reducing its own salary. Mayor Chuck Reed responded by saying welcome to the club, newbie.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

44 Comments

  1. What, no indignant posts by Officers X or Y or Z blaming Pete Constant’s pension for these three nincompoops not following suit in what they, themselves, asked the city labor force to do?

  2. I might be wrong, but I thought that Liccardo (attorney), Oliverio (software consultant), and Constant (photographer) already “moonlight” because of the pithy salary they receive as council members?  And where’s Figone’s and her staff’s pay cuts in all of this?  Such “strong” leadership we have here….

    • Pete was moonlighting even as a police officer.  Can’t tell you how many times I drove bye his shop on Winchester Ave, only to see his patrol car parked there.  Old habits hard to break.

  3. Wow the captain and crew of the Titanic took a paycut????  Too little too late….the damage is done……10 years too late

  4. Simply amazing!  The mayor in an effort to get a Baseball team to San Jose passes on another great potential for the city
        Good old Cupertino will get the Space Ship Apple.  Could we have had a core group from the city trying to bring this good ship in.  We have heard the term time and time again.  “We are losing are tax base.”  During the clamor of pension reform cutting services could we have spent some time working on future business.  Let me see Baseball SEASONAL…….Apple everyday would keep the cut backs away.

    Think about it.  Thousands of workers coming to San Jose. Thousands of workers buying things in San Jose. Sounds to me like a potential tax base. Nope lets just attack the workers.  Maybe it’s time to make people responsible for this, be brought before the people of San Jose.  Even a half witted attempt to offer a landing platform for the good ship Apple would have been nice.  With out an “excuse” can anyone answer if an attempt was made?

    • Very good points.

      Imagine if the 180 acres currently used by Reid-Hillview was developed by Apple, Google, or some other company, or companies.  The benefits to San Jose would be tremendous.  East San Jose would be reborn, and that alone is worth the effort.

      However, as long as we have the usual slow thinking, incompetent, and possibly corrupt, politicians in place, San Jose will continue to suffer.

      • Pretty sure that both the FAA and SCC would need to buy off on this – apparently neither will do so. 

        I imagine were it up to the City Council, they’d have shut it down long ago and built affordable housing that would have further drained our tax coffers. 

        Alternatively, Mayor Chuck-O, with his poor self-concept, might want to build an icon to his mayor-ship, as Gonzo did with the obsolete and costly city hall.

      • Even if the FAA and the County would agree to close RHV, the NIMBYs would never go for a large, tax generating development on the former airport property. Might as well leave the airport alone. With the little planes being priced out of SJC, they need a home.

        • Your right! Leave the airport alone. Sammy L. would demand that the station have a percentage of low income housing attached.  The tax gain would be a tax even….for awhile.  He would then impose a higher tax.  Think I will stick to your idea.  THEEEE PLaneeeee Bossss Theeee PLaneee

        • I’d be more concerned with a company that has such bad judgment that they are willing to invest millions in an area that has the highest crime rate in the city.  I’m sure those company employees would love to run the daily gauntlet of shootings, homicides, home invasions, and gang activity that plagues the area.  Now, if we had some cops to clean it up…ah never mind….

  5. Yup, the union tool troika on the city council has the typical union mentality—another year, another raise, irrespective of what else is going on in the world, and never, never share the pain by taking a cut.

    It never occurs to the unionistas, and Officers X, Y, and Z that the unionized city workers make up less than 1% of the population of SJ, but they want to keep all their pay and benefits at the expense of the other 99% of the folks who are paying the bill.

    Jeez, they can’t all be only children, can they?

    • Here are a few things:

      1.  The Police Officer’s Association has agreed to significant pay cuts for two contracts running.
      2.  They have proposed pension reform ideas that would save the tax payers millions of dollars. 
      3.  Last contract they agreed to pay more into the retirement fund.  Currently almost 22% of an officer’s salary goes toward retirement for a 2.5% annual accrual rate for the first 20 years, compared to officers in PERS, many of whom pay 0%, and at the most 9% for a 3% annual accrual rate.  (A very small percentage of officers retire at age 50 with 90% of their salary.  I, for instance, will retire at age 55 with just over 50% of my salary.)
      4.  They agreed to give up their uniform allowance last contract.
      5.  They agreed to pay more for health care last contract.
      6.  The City doesn’t pay into Social Security, saving them a boat load of money.  So, officers don’t get the benefit of SS in retirement.
      7.  The City only dedicates 47% of it’s general fund to public safety, the lowest (by far) among cities of over 500,000 people.

      Maybe some children need to take their heads out of the sand and consider reality.

      • Just watch!  The day you ratify your contract.  You will lose an initial 100 officers.  Bringing the department down to 1120.  With in one year you will lose an additional 75-100 members due to retirements seeking other jobs or being fired.  The funny thing is you cut your pay so the city could play with your numbers.  STAND BY ALL UNITS>>>>>>>We are at 1020.  Give another 10% or your going to be at 900. 
            Just going down 200 officers saves the city 40 million in wages.  More in training and equipment to keep operational on the street.  Add that to your above mentioned list of givebacks.

        • You mean the City of San Carlos that dissolved it’s entire 32 man police force last year because it couldn’t afford them and is now in the process of contracting out the job to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office?
          A City that was going broke trying to satisfy union demands took measures to save itself from financial ruin. What a concept! That’s an excellent example, anonymous poster, and helps support Chuck Reed’s position. FYI

        • It isn’t your decision to make, is it? I’m sure officers and firefighters are intelligent enough to make their own decisions as to if they wish pursue this, or not.

  6. What about the City Manager’s Office?  Her salary is ‘thru the roof’ and not a peep out of her.  Thanks for leading the way Debra.

  7. > Here are a few things:

    > 1.  The Police Officer’s Association has agreed to significant pay cuts for two contracts running.
    > 2.  They have proposed pension reform ideas that would save the tax payers millions of dollars. 
    > 3.  Last contract they agreed to pay more into the retirement fund.  Currently almost 22% of an officer’s salary goes toward retirement for a 2.5% annual accrual rate for the first 20 years, compared to officers in PERS, many of whom pay 0%, and at the most 9% for a 3% annual accrual rate.  (A very small percentage of officers retire at age 50 with 90% of their salary.  I, for instance, will retire at age 55 with just over 50% of my salary.)
    > 4.  They agreed to give up their uniform allowance last contract.
    > 5.  They agreed to pay more for health care last contract.

    It’s NOT enough.

  8. Where are 10% pay cuts for City Manager and hundreds of senior managers making $100,000 to 350,000 ?

    Looks like city administration want other to take pay cust but not them

    Everyone in city government should be treated the same and have – 10% pay cuts. increases in payroll deductions, pension reductions etc

  9. So it would be nice with all these ballot measures being thrown around if something were added to the charter that city management and members of the governing board (city council) may not establish, subscribe to, nor vest in any pension or benefit system more generous than that available to the least full-time city employee.

    So…roll at second-tier pensions, and automatically reduce your own pensions at the same time.  Seems fair to me.

  10. San Jose’s voters and taxpayers have many examples of why we can not trust Mayors and City Councils most of which have been elected with significant assistance by non government groups, labor unions or wealth individual expecting to receive millions yearly in city and redevelopment taxes or Council votes as political paybacks to benefit them not San Jose residents and taxpayers

    San Jose Council – City Manager form of city government has not worked to be voter responsible and accountable since 1986 McEnery sponsored Measure J reduced City Manager’s control over city and redevelopment budgets which allowed Mayors and elected career politicians to give away billions San Jose city and redevelopment taxes to

    1) further their political careers or
    2) get very high paying future jobs or profitable consulting or contracts

    from their non government groups, corporations, labor unions or individual political and campaign supporters, friends, and city contractors who benefited from Mayor and Council votes while in city office

    San Jose city voters need to take away from elected officials their ability to spent billions as political paybacks or tSan Jose will NEVER be able to

    1) provide adequate city service and infrastructure
    2) prevent career politicians from giving away billions in city taxes as campaign paybacks
    3) remove most of financial incentives using city taxes for non government groups, corporations and labor unions to spend millions to elect their hand picked candidates who represent them not voters and taxpayers

    Voters can fix most of city budget problems and prevent giving away billions tax dollars by amending the San Jose City Charter to REQUIRE

    1) Voter approval for any increases in city employee benefits and pensions like San Francisco and other charter cities since career politicians approved pension increases as political paybacks that voters would not have approved ?

    2) Both voter approval for all retroactive city employee increases in benefits and pensions and that the retroactive increases be funded / fully paid into pension or benefit plans within 5 years ( within 2 terms of Mayor and Council members)  so Council is accountable to voters not like many former Mayors and Council politicians long gone to new elected office or highly paid jobs, contracts or more campaign contributions from those who got billions in city and redevelopment taxes

    3) Revoke Measure J that gave budget control to Mayor and the ability for Mayor and Council to use city taxes to payback political supporters

    4) Require that Large Economic Development ( ALL Non City government spending ) Projects over $5 million have to be city Voter Approved unless the project will generate increased city General Fund Taxes that will payback city General Fund within 5-7 years ( within 2 terms of Mayor and Council members)  for all city, redevelopment or special fund taxes spent Council will during budget hearing have to report to public all over $ 5 million Large Economic Development ( ALL Non City government spending ) Projects until all actual taxes spent have been paid back to city’s General Fund to prevent Council’s using misleading consultant reports or underestimating project costs as has been commonly done

    Watch CAREER POLITICIANS, their Political supports and those who financially benefit from Non Government City Tax Spending strongly object to stopping the giving away of city taxes for political paybacks when city, redevelopment and special taxes should be spent for city services and infrastructure benefiting residents

    You will know who is on side of voters and taxpayers by their support for City Charter Reform Fiscal Responsibility Amendments

    We will also know who are CAREER POLITICIANS owing political supporters and wanting to spend city taxes to advance their political and get rich after their political careers using taxpayer money to payback political supporters

    I probably missed some loopholes that politicians can use to spend city taxes or Council votes FIRST DRAFT to encourage well known individuals, media community and neighborhood groups to think about, strongly support and proposed Voter Initiative City Charter Fiscal Responsibility Amendments. 

    Please suggest modifications to raft 4 amendments or new city charter amendments to bring back voter control and accountability to what is special interest controlled San Jose city government

    • Feel sorry for SJ citizens, worked there for 30 + years. They care less for us as well It will only get worse when you have no officers to respond to your calls for help. Get use to calling 411 to report that your house had been robbed or your car stolen.  Hope you own a gun.

  11. Not to get off topic but the above post mentioned McEnery, give away millions and redevelopment in the same sentence.  It made me think of the place being built on San Pedro.  Has anyone seen this thing?  It looks like a giant Jiffy Lube. 

    Does anyone else see the irony here?  (Taxpayers and lube).

  12. The opinion that Council salaries “attracks talent” has never been proven true. It is the cheap fodder that fills up empty space in the San Jose Mercury News.

    If Council salaries “attracked talent” were the case; structural deficits would never have been allowed, there would be no “unfunded liabilities” and San Jose taxpayers would be sitting on a pile of cash.

    Sadly, as I mourn for the thesis that high Council salaries would indeed attract talent, the grim reality is;
    San Jose is a slum run by; over paid, non-talented, non-performing slum lords.

    David S. Wall

  13. City employees in labor unions and Council take 10% pay cuts or have them imposed

    Where are 10% pay cuts for City Manager and hundreds of senior managers making $100,000 to 350,000 ?

    Looks like city administration wants others to take pay cuts but not them

    Everyone in city government, redevelopment and Council staffs should be treated the same and have – 10% pay cuts. increases in payroll deductions, pension reductions etc