City Gives Out Raises Despite Pay Freeze

City Gives Out Raises Despite Pay Freeze

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Jerry Sanders

 

At least four San Diego management-level employees received raises in the last two months, even as the city has attempted to hold salaries steady in negotiations with employee groups and after voters approved a pensionable pay freeze for city workers in June.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders approved three of the raises, and the city’s Civil Service Commission OK’d the fourth. Together the raises total nearly $60,000.

Sanders’ top deputy Jay Goldstone said the three employees under mayoral control took on much bigger workloads.

Jim Barwick, who heads the city’s Real Estate Assets Department, received a $12,500 raise and now makes $156,000. Barwick’s new responsibilities, Goldstone said, include managing properties formerly controlled by the city’s defunct redevelopment agency.

Two Financial Management directors, Julio Canizal and Irena Kumitz, received raises totaling $35,950. Goldstone said they absorbed the workload of an employee who left the department who had made $120,000 a year. Canizal and Kumitz now both make $138,000.

“This latest personnel move actually saves the city money,” Goldstone said in a statement.

Hadi Dehghani, the city’s personnel director, also received a $10,000 pay increase to $180,000 in September. The Civil Service Commission approved his raise.

Unionized workers haven’t received across-the-board pay increases in years. The Proposition B pension initiative passed in June recommends a freeze on employees’ pensionable pay until mid-2018, a move estimated to save almost $1 billion.

The initiative called for the city to negotiate a pay freeze with unionized employees. But it doesn’t specifically mention nonunionized managers, such as the four who received raises.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the initiative was “ambiguous” on whether the pay freeze applied to nonunionized workers. Goldsmith said his office had a conflict of interest in writing a legal opinion on non-union raises and that outside attorneys addressed the issue in a September memo. Sanders’ office did not provide that legal opinion by late Thursday.

Prop. B does allow unionized employees to receive more money in three ways. Employees can still receive automatic pay hikes known as step increases, bonuses that don’t count toward their pension calculations and promotions.

But the four raises approved in the last two months come without promotions and will count toward those employees’ pensions.

Sanders has long touted that he’s held the line on employee salaries during the city’s pension and financial crisis. But the mayor did hand out $46,000 in raises to two department directors in spring 2011.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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24 comments
shawn fox
shawn fox subscriber

Well don't worry; you all just voted to elect the great and mighty Bob "I can do anything I want because I am a congressman" Filner. I'm sure that once he is in charge, nothing like that will ever happen. Even if he did, his supporters wouldn't whine about that. They'd simply defend him just as the supporters of Mayor Sanders will defend him.

shawn1874
shawn1874

Well don't worry; you all just voted to elect the great and mighty Bob "I can do anything I want because I am a congressman" Filner. I'm sure that once he is in charge, nothing like that will ever happen. Even if he did, his supporters wouldn't whine about that. They'd simply defend him just as the supporters of Mayor Sanders will defend him.

Greg Levin
Greg Levin subscribermember

You guys can all crucify me now.

Gelevin
Gelevin

You guys can all crucify me now.

Frank De Clercq
Frank De Clercq subscriber

s for Jerry Sanders, he got his payback from the Chamber: a $300,000 CEO position for a job well done. I believe in Karma, do you?

Frank De Clercq
Frank De Clercq

s for Jerry Sanders, he got his payback from the Chamber: a $300,000 CEO position for a job well done. I believe in Karma, do you?

Michael Aguirre
Michael Aguirre subscriber

Bide you time, tell fibs, violate the public trust, get the attorney to create a we-have-a-conflict smoke screen. We are right back where we were in 2004. We sink further into the pension hole surrounded by hollow voices proclaiming reforms. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The reason the public made the City Attorney an elected position 1931 was to ensure he or she worked for them and did not provide the kind of excuse for wrongs like the one exposed in this article. Thank you Voice for trying to keep it honest.

MichaelAguirre
MichaelAguirre

Bide you time, tell fibs, violate the public trust, get the attorney to create a we-have-a-conflict smoke screen. We are right back where we were in 2004. We sink further into the pension hole surrounded by hollow voices proclaiming reforms. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The reason the public made the City Attorney an elected position 1931 was to ensure he or she worked for them and did not provide the kind of excuse for wrongs like the one exposed in this article. Thank you Voice for trying to keep it honest.

John Teevan
John Teevan subscriber

Here we go again commenters - you keep trying to insert logic and facts into these stories. LOL

jptrugger
jptrugger

Here we go again commenters - you keep trying to insert logic and facts into these stories. LOL

Tammy Tran
Tammy Tran subscriber

So far, even the City Attorney Jan Goldsmith found that some language of Prop B is ambiguous, whether it's applied to unionized vs. non-unionized workers, his office has a conflict of interest to write a legal opinion...

TammyT
TammyT

So far, even the City Attorney Jan Goldsmith found that some language of Prop B is ambiguous, whether it's applied to unionized vs. non-unionized workers, his office has a conflict of interest to write a legal opinion...

David Cohen
David Cohen subscriber

Are they "at will" employees whose job security is now in doubt? Is this a form of the much-despised "salary spiking"?

fryefan
fryefan

Are they "at will" employees whose job security is now in doubt? Is this a form of the much-despised "salary spiking"?

Charles Rickman
Charles Rickman subscribermember

Another DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO performance by Sanders. Shameful!

tellmewhy
tellmewhy

Another DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO performance by Sanders. Shameful!

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

I wonder when some of his "mayoral spokespeople" will be getting their parting gifts.

toulon
toulon

I wonder when some of his "mayoral spokespeople" will be getting their parting gifts.

Jake Resch
Jake Resch subscriber

That's funny because the city told the working stiffs that they needed to do more with less.

Dawg53
Dawg53

That's funny because the city told the working stiffs that they needed to do more with less.

jeff jordon
jeff jordon subscriber

Hey Jerry, not too long ago we used to have 2100 cops. Now we are down to about 1800 not including the recruits. They are taking on significant risks, handling many collateral duties and we frequently can't even make our minimum patrol staffing numbers in the field. Three hundred less cops means a whole lot of savings, but instead of giving them any type of incentive for their increased work load you cut the pay for many of them by about 12% in 2009 and they have not had any increase since. So much for shared sacrifices for the good of the city. This type of hypocrisy sickens employees, whether they see it in the public or private sector.

jeff jordon
jeff jordon

Hey Jerry, not too long ago we used to have 2100 cops. Now we are down to about 1800 not including the recruits. They are taking on significant risks, handling many collateral duties and we frequently can't even make our minimum patrol staffing numbers in the field. Three hundred less cops means a whole lot of savings, but instead of giving them any type of incentive for their increased work load you cut the pay for many of them by about 12% in 2009 and they have not had any increase since. So much for shared sacrifices for the good of the city. This type of hypocrisy sickens employees, whether they see it in the public or private sector.

Don Wood
Don Wood subscriber

Pay freezes are for the little people, not Jerry's subordinates.

Don Wood
Don Wood

Pay freezes are for the little people, not Jerry's subordinates.