City Managers Offer to Take Pay Cut

With all union employees being asked to take a 10 percent pay cut, it stands to reason that the city’s top-paid managers could take a cut of their own. They offered to, without even being asked. Alex Gurza, San Jose’s Director of Employee Relations, says that the city’s top managers are willing to take a 5 percent cut now, with an additional 5 percent cut at some later date. The cuts should be approved by City Council toward the end of the month.

This sent a mixed message to Randy Sekany, President of the San Jose Fire Fighters Union. While he called the proposed pay cut “reasonable,” he said that it affects only a small group of city employees, whose compensation packages are already very different from the unionized workers. Sekany’s union has been warned by the city that if they do not accept the pay cuts, they could lose as much as 15 percent of their firefighters.
Read More at KCBS.


  1. Why wouldn’t the city manager and the other top managers at the city just take a 10% cut right now? Why aren’t the city council members taking a 10% paycut right away? At least the mayor has had the guts to turn down his pay raises since he has been in office.

    • I hope Ms. Figone can live on the $270,000 a year, plus benefits, she will receive after taking her 5% paycut.

      Why doesn’t the city go after bringing a professional basketball team to San Jose? We already have an arena that is built. That would be at least 40 additional days of the arena being sold out and bringing business and revenue to San Jose.

    • It’s my understanding that City Council members ARE taking a 10% pay cut. Of course, the City Council doesn’t earn the higher figures that many City executives, the Fire Department and Police Department personnel do; not even close (source listed below).  Also, I have heard the City Council/Mayor does not enjoy the same benefits packages unionized employees do, so all tolled the savings will be less. Considerably.



      • Where did you get your information the city council is taking a 10% paycut? I had not heard that. Also, the city council members get a very generous compensation package, including almost $8,000 a year for a car allowance. Not bad when most other cities around here only pay a stipend to their council members. Also, the police department agreed to take a 5% paycut LAST year to fund more of their own medical costs, so why haven’t the city manager and council members do this long ago? Most of our city council members have other full time jobs with benefits outside of the city already.

        • Hi Frank,

          To answer your question, I heard several of the City Council members say they were taking the 10% cut when I attended the District Community Budget presentations or other meetings they were attending.

          Hope this helps.


    • Also, don’t forget that managers are not unionized so they are pawns in this game of politics. They can “lead” by example but nobody has to follow if they are in a union.
      Most likely, management will again will hung out to dry with a reduced compensation package while others in the city continue to collect their full paycheck.

  2. Hey City of SJ – want to save some money?  OK, here’s some ideas.  1,Slash the size of gov’t and 2, move back into the old City Hall.  It’s empty so the rent is free.  3. rent out Gonzo Hall to whoever will come up w/ enough rent to at least make interest payments on the bond note. 4. have a yard sale. ergonomic chairs and all the extra stuff that comes w/ reduced staff.
    5. give every property owner a $5 or $10 tax credit for each pothole they patch up on their street.  that would be a $75-$100 saving per pot hole right there.
    6. Ditto for pruning their own street trees.
    7. develop partnerships.  Get high school and college students to do much of the mundane city staff work.  Students get credits for community service in various fields, city gets a lot done at little/no cost. the partnership idea worked well with the library, try it on some other things.
    8. you get all excited about having citizens name baby falcons why not have contests where citizens come up with their own best ideas.

  3. Armando Gomez is taking a pay cut, right?

    Two white mean chicken, on Pop and Freah rolls, no Mayo.

    He can survive on that with a little roasted lamb done by Victor who
    does that for the veiled dancers.

  4. Sekany is overlooking the obvious.

    If I were a city employee I would be damn mad that well-paid top managers are JUST NOW offering only a 5% cut in pay (with a “maybe” for additional cuts later) when for months they have demanded that employees take a 10% cut in wages AND benefits, OR face layoffs.

    While I have no doubt the city needs to make cuts, when cuts were first proposed the top managers should have been the FIRST to take them. That’s what leaders do, they lead. No wonder city workers are balking at the 10%!

    Instead the top managers are offering only half of what they’ve demanded from their employees while pushing a “cuts or layoffs” strategy that sounds a lot like extortion.

    So much for “sharing the pain” as Mayor Reed (who has given back salary) has caled. I’m surprised Figone hasn’t been called on the carpet for this bit of greed and incompetence.

    If the city council is serious about cutting jobs, I have a dandy suggestion for where they should start…

    • From an Eric Johnson post of May 7, 2009: “[Reed] also noted that the City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk and City Auditor have all taken a 3.75% pay cut ‘in recognition of these tough economic times.’”(

      That was last year, when they were asking city employees for a “true zero” salary freeze. The fact that we need a phrase like “true zero” should tell you all you need to know about city compensation.

    • Reader you have hit the nail on the head. It does sound like extortion.

      Figone needs to put her money where her mouth is, or step down. Now! Oh, wait…you could just retire and not get hit with a pay cut?  Anyone want to make a friendly bet?

  5. “5 percent cut now, with an additional 5 percent cut at some later date”

    Are the leaders in city hall really this pathetic?  Even a Boy Scout learns that leaders must set the example.  How about a permanent 15% pay cut starting today?

  6. I’ve always thought that city employees should have a cap on retirement benefits. It would be a simple formulae, take the mean average of all salaries and give 75% of that number for retirement benefits after 30 years. People such as Figone etc. who make top salaries with the city would have their retirements indexed with those who are the rank and file workers. Upon recruitment these numbers would be well published and give thiose executive positions options in investment strategies such as 501Ks etc. when hired. anyway, Ms. figone will probably retire in June of 2010 avoiding any pay cut.