Things seemed pretty rosy back in 2007. Sure, the city was running a deficit, but the economy seemed solid enough for City Councilmembers to vote themselves a 20 percent raise, upping their salary from $75,000 to $90,000. After all, many city employees were earning more than them. Then came the crash. Then came the overwhelming deficit. Then came the pink slips and the pink slips and the pink slips—1,300 of them this month alone.
The Mayor has already asked city employees to take a 10 percent, across the board pay cut, noting that the average salary for city workers is now $88,000 (yes, average), just slightly less than City Councilmembers make. Meanwhile, City Manager Debra Figone took a 3.75 percent pay cut last year, but she is still taking in $250,000.
The salary problem is bound to be an issue at tonight’s City Council meeting. Among the suggestions to be discussed is a 5 percent cut to the salaries of non-union workers and council staff, but as some point out, this would mean that City Council members could end up earning less than the average employee.
There are some shining examples among the council members. Mayor Chuck Reed turned down the raise back in 2007: he is still making $105,000 even though he could be getting $127,000. Meanwhile Vice Mayor Judy Chirco has asked the city to cut her salary by the 10 percent being demanded of city employees, while Pete Constant and Sam Liccardo have promised to follow her example. It will be interesting to see which councilmembers reject the pay cut tonight, and who decides to follow the example being set by Chirco, Constant, and Liccardo.
Read More at the Mercury News.