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I just got off the phone with the mayor’s office, which has assured me that its staff is working hard to get the answers to the questions I mentioned earlier. I’ll let you know as soon as I have them. For now, I’ll move on to another topic.

On the reader comments, “Dani” asked this question, referring to the mayor’s plans to help close the city’s future budget gap by reducing the number of city employees:

I’d like to know, is the mayor’s office cutting their own budget too, or is it just other city departments that will get to cut staff and budgets?

To get the answer, I turned to the city’s budget for fiscal year 2007. Take a look at this chart, showing the changes in the Mayor’s Office between 2006 and 2007:

So, it would appear as though the mayor reduced his staff by 92 percent! But not so fast. Comparing 2007 and 2006 is like comparing apples and oranges, because of the changes brought about by our new strong-mayor form of government.

In fact, since the mayor is now the chief executive officer, every city department is now under his purview. As a result, many of the positions that used to be in the mayor’s office have been moved to specific departments, in budget terms.

Take a look at the chief operating officer’s office:

As you can see, that office added 15.5 employees this year. The same is true for other departments, too.

Then, consider the city’s Office of Ethics and Integrity, one of the mayor’s pet projects:

Since it didn’t exist before, that’s seven more new positions. But technically, it’s still not part of the mayor’s office.

So, the short answer to Dani’s question, is that we don’t really know, because there is no baseline to which we can compare current or future budget levels.

VLADIMIR KOGAN

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