Mayor Calls for Salary Freeze

Mayor Chuck Reed today called on all City workers to accept a wage and salary freeze this year to avoid 150 layoffs in the face of the City’s $77.5 million budget shortfall.  “I’m calling for all our bargaining units to agree to true zeroes this year,” Reed said in a statement released this morning. He specified that this would mean “no wage increases, no step increases, no merit increases.”

Reed pointed out that he “inherited” the City’s financial mess, and that he has forgone pay increases and his car allowance since taking office. He also noted that the City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk and City Auditor have all taken a 3.75 percent pay cut “in recognition of these tough economic times.”

“San José employees work hard and are committed to serving the residents of this great cit,” Reed said. “In times like these, we must pull together.”

City Manager Deb Figone’s “Budget Message” was released on May 1. It contained only bad news.

The City is holding a community budget meeting for residents of District 9 at Cambrian Branch Library; 1780 Hillsdale Avenue, today at 6pm.



  1. As someone who is tired of articles about public employees who live on the dole of public salaries, I was disappointed to read the Mercury News write a sob story on the janitors at City Hall.  All public employees are generally lazy, as I have said many times, and they do not have the same work ethic as tennis store managers.

    Just keep them and the Irish out of my neighborhood.  Well, back to reading high school textbooks.  Some of them have that word “paddy” in it.  ROFL

  2. Thanks Chuck for finally making a public statement on this issue and calling out the unions to come to the table and negotiate some salary concessions.  Please just don’t forget to mention across the board compensation reductions, even if its just temporary while we await the economy to improve.

  3. EJ,

    Thanks for the heads-up on the District 9 budget meeting. Unfortunately it’s now 6:45.

    Sure would be nice if Ms. Chirco made just the slightest effort to communicate with her constituents. E mail updates? Mailers? I remember being contacted by her quite a bit when she was running for office to solicit my vote, but since then? Nada.

  4. Most Silicon Valley workers were not ‘asked’ to take a pay freeze this year, FYI. They were told.

  5. I can only hope that our city employees recognize a dictate when they see one. Given the current political and economic atmosphere, making public such a request before employees have a chance to hear it or consider it puts the mayor in the position of stealing the credit should they agree to the sacrifice, and sets up the employees to face the wrath of an angry public should they refuse. And please, let us not forget that the raises that they now want to freeze are, in many cases, raises awarded recently, when the fiscal crisis was already in its exponential stage.

    Once again, the elected and appointed leaders, want someone else to pay the price of undoing their own blunders.

    I am of the opinion that one good freeze deserves another, and given the impact of a wage freeze on individuals with families to support, it would only be fitting of our employee unions to first ask our mayor and city council to agree to something that would impact them, as self-centered politicians: a freeze non-essential spending for the next five years, thus taking the city out of the professional sports business; the race, gender, and ethnic heritage business; the social promotion/policing business (no more mindless, time-consuming proclamations, official positions of matters outside their jurisdiction, etc); no more festivals or public art, and no more of anything else that I’m too pissed to think of right now.

    If having a sports team here, or paying homage to the great culture of some shitty foreign country, or making a public declaration in support of obese cross-dressers, or ringing our civic center with ugly totem poles is so important to the interests of this city, then there are certainly private citizens here bright enough to recognize the critical need and find the necessary funding.

    My checkbook stands open ready to be the first citizen donor for a great bronze for our city plaza, of a curved dais with eleven council members gathered about, all with their heads stuck where the shine doesn’t shine.

  6. #7 finfan

    I just received this email.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend.  Perhaps you could attend and share your wisdom in public.


    This reminder is for the invitation below that was previously sent. Please RSVP if you plan to attend. If you have already RSVP’d, you do not need to again.

    Dear Community Leader,

    Please join us for the fourth event of the Leadership Series: Cultural Development as a Catalyst in Troubled Times. Keynote speaker Jerry Yoshitomi will address From Transactions to Transformations: Revealing the Public Value of the Arts. 

    In this presentation, Jerry will help us explore ways to ‘activate the assets’ of audience and participant/participation experiences to increase support from both the public and private sectors and increase participation and earned income.

    DATE/TIME: Friday, May 15, 2009;  9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

    LOCATION: Meeting Rooms 119/120 in the Council Wing at San José City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street. (The meeting rooms are near the 4th Street entrance to City Hall.)

    Jerry Yoshitomi is Chief Knowledge Officer of MeaningMatters, LLC.  MeaningMatters is engaged by foundations, public arts agencies, organizations and artists to research and provoke innovative new practices providing just-in-time knowledge to increase participation, personal benefits and public value of the arts; adaptability, creativity and leadership in changing environments; and earned and contributed income

    MeaningMatters is presently engaged in a cultural master planning process for the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and recently completed the Values and Impacts Study commissioned by the Major University Presenters Consortium. 

    Methods from Jerry’s writings/workshops have been successfully implemented by thousands of artists and organizations in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, increasing attendance and earned/contributed income.

    The goal of the Leadership Series: Cultural Development as a Catalyst in Troubled Times is to provide a forum for leaders to address the public value of the arts, building arts audiences, and cultural participation. The final event in the series will kick off the San José Cultural Vision Plan which will inform the City’s general plan update, Envision San José 2040. 

    Please be sure to RSVP for the May 15 event with Jerry Yoshitomi either by replying to this e-mail or sending an e-mail to: [email protected]

    Please mark you calendar for the culminating event in the series: Creating a Cultural Vision for San José – The Catalytic Kick-Off on Saturday, June 6th, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.. This exciting opportunity to help shape the Cultural Vision Plan for the City’s Envision San José 2040 general plan update will be held on Saturday, June 6th from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at San José City Hall in the Council Chambers and Wing. Additional information about this event will be coming soon. 

    I look forward to seeing you on the morning of May 15th. 


    Kerry Adams Hapner, Director of Cultural Affairs
    City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs, Office of Economic Development

    This event is organized by the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs, a division of the Office of Economic Development.

  7. Oh stop the whining already.  I didn’t hear you whining when this city was putting it’s self in debt.  You know why you weren’t whining?  Because you were making nice change at your start ups and internet companies.  Stock options and all.

    Now the party is over and you want to blame the city workers.  Suck it up.

  8. #8—please tell me your post is a joke that I was just too dull-witted to get.

    You wrote:“The goal of the Leadership Series: Cultural Development as a Catalyst in Troubled Times is to provide a forum for leaders to address the public value of the arts, building arts audiences, and cultural participation.”

    I’d rather we use taxpayer $$ to build and maintain roads and other essentials.

    Oh, and since your meeting is on a weekday @

  9. Rather than requiring all workers to take a cut, the mayor and council need to examine what workers we REALLY NEED, what workers we kinda need, and what workers we can do without in hard times.

    Individuals make these choices daily as the economy stagnates.  Eat in instead of out; join Netflix instead of going to the movies; cancel netflix and just watch the crap that TV producers feed us.

    Is it nice to have an office of cultural affairs?  Yup.  Is it nice to keep that office open with 16-18 employees when our roads suck?  Nope.  Just look at the nonsense #8 proposes, at a time when our infrastructure is crumbling.  Ms. Hapner would like to keep her job.  Don’t we all?  In this economic environment, her job and that of her entire staff is irrelevant when compared to cops, firefighters, even halfway decent roads, which we don’t have.

    Work rules that allow people to put in a half day’s real work for a full day’s real pay need to be amended.

  10. You know, as I see and read it and so do many others, layoffs are and will happen no matter what.  In 1992, when the union’s wages were frozen for the remainder of the contract years, it was never gained back.  It was and has been a negative for union members.  If wage increases are frozen again, those nearing retirement will suffer the impact the most.  Those impacted in pending layoffs will be either laid off or bumped or redeployed into another position. Those that can’t will be laid off.  As I read it, layoffs are going to happen and more will happen in the years to come because California and the federal system can’t seem to stop the increased taxation onto the people’s wallet.  It it did, maybe then the ecomony will stabilize!

  11. JMO,

    The intransigency of our City Leaders to recognize the wisdom of your statement can only result in San Jose being the first large city in the nation to file for bankruptcy.  So be it.

  12. Layoffs at the city are inevitable. A pay freeze only delays that inevitability. In addition to general fund shortfalls, San Jose faces billions in off-book, unfunded liabilities…deferred maintenance, road repairs, sewer work, retiree health care, retiree pensions.

    #13, JMO, hit the nail on the head. Focus on what we citizens really need, get rid of “nice to have” stuff. That’s the only way to get government spending (at all levels) back under control.

  13. “He also noted that the City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk and City Auditor have all taken a 3.75 percent pay cut “in recognition of these tough economic times.”

    Wow! Deb took a 3.75 pay cut. A whole $11K. Considering she makes dam near 300K, that is a spit in the ocean!