An amazing discussion followed about how the mayor and council were going to cut their budgets.
It had been agreed to last November that they each would cut 10%. There was a little confusion as to whether for 2008-2009 they were being asked to cut an additional 10% or just continue with the same 10%. Mr. Van Eenoo clarified this. A continuance of the same amount decided last year was the suggestion. Mr. Castaneda thought this was not enough and proposed amending the mayor's motion ( which was to take at least a 10% cut for next year). The mayor took this as a criticism and started to explain how she had gotten underwriters for many events to save extra money, and how she had spent less than her predecessor, etc. She asked Mr. Castaneda to let Mr. Rindone and herself (the budget subcommittee) come up with a proposal. Councilman Castaneda made a motion to amend the mayor's motion to require the budget committee to come back on April 3 with additional cuts. (Video of Councilman Castaneda's comments and reaction to them.)
This is the budget for each councilman. They can spend it as they wish. Each of them has several part-time aides or a full time aide. Since the councilmen are part time, the only way they can be available to constituents all day is to have assistants in their office to answer the phone, do research, keep up with the several hundred pages of materials the council must go through each week to understand what is being brought to them for a vote, and respond to constituent requests.
The mayor is full-time and her budget is significantly higher. Councilman Ramirez expressed the opinion that this is unfair. He feels the mayor's budget should be no more than double or triple that of a councilperson, since they all essentially have the same duties according to the charter. The mayor's Chief of Staff ($126,657 with benefits $184,788) makes more than the mayor of San Diego and her other two employees make considerably more than the councilmen ($66,225 & $87,414 If you add benefits the figures are: $97,094 & $124,903). She defended her need for them, and absolutely was opposed to cutting her budget as much as Councilman Ramirez suggested. (Video of Councilman Ramirez's comments and Mayor's response.)
The mayor of San Diego : Mayor Jerry Sanders earns $100,464 a year, but accepts about one-third of that to honor a campaign promise. A former police chief, Sanders promised not to re-enter the city pension system. ... On a per capita basis, the salary for San Diego's mayor is the 12th highest among the 20 largest U.S. cities, at 8 cents per capita. (San Diego is the eighth largest city in the country.... San Diegans pay 6 cents per resident toward a council member's salary. San Jose pays nearly a dime per person, and Philadelphia, almost 7 cents a person.)
The mayor of Chula Vista makes $120, 497 (55 cents per person). Councilpersons make $48,199 (21 cents per person). Their salaries are tied to the salary of a superior court judge and can not be altered without amending the charter. (See all city salaries at this site.) When Councilman McCann said he could not vote on Councilman Ramirez's suggestion because he needed time to study it, Councilman Castaneda moved to continue the matter until April 3 so that the public would have a chance to comment and all of them would have time to study the matter. (Video of request for continuance, the mayor's objections, and the vote.)
This chart appeared in the Union Tribune on 2/24/08, page B-5: