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In your May 11 Morning Report is an item on pension reform efforts in San Diego and San Jose. The linked piece, “San Diego, San Jose voters asked to cut pensions” compares the cost cutting efforts of the two cities. Here’s a summary:
• San Jose has cut staff 27 percent, San Diego 14 percent
• San Jose now has 5,400 employees for a population of 960,000, or 5.6 per 1,000 population; San Diego now has 10,100 employees for a population of 1,300,000, or 7.8 per 1,000 population
Out of curiosity, I looked at the proposed budgets of the two cities for the upcoming fiscal year, and I would urge readers to examine them. The first thing that leaped out at me is how simple and clean San Jose’s budget appears, and how complex San Diego’s is. San Jose has 22 departments with one or more people assigned; San Diego has 44. San Jose has a finance department with 115 people; San Diego has four organizations (comptroller, treasurer, chief financial officer and financial management), with a total staff of 233.
San Jose, a city manager organization, has a mayor and 10 council members. For some reason, its budget doesn’t show a staffing level, but the budget dollars allocated for the two categories is a total of $9.4 million. In San Diego, the number is $17.9 million. When you look at the detail, you discover our mayor proposes 21 “mayoral representatives” as part of his staff. These are the oft-quoted “mayoral spokespeople” plus other staffers assigned to attend public functions.
Perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions, but it’s apparent to this reader that, despite the belt-tightening efforts in San Diego, with the constant self-congratulations that accompany them, there are plenty of opportunities for more cuts by our next “strong” mayor.
Bill Bradshaw lives in Mission Beach.
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