The mayor says he is not apologetic in the least for taking his full pay as mayor and retirement pay. He says after all he is putting a daughter through college. The mayor says; "I'm not wealthy." "I'm just like everybody else; I've got to make ends meet." No kidding? I sure would like to "Make ends meet" with a retirement of $92,000 and a salary of $100,464. The mayor pays his ex-wife a paltry $2,000 a month in alimony. So he now makes in the neighborhood of $168,464 a year.
This is not about what the mayor earned serving the citizens over a 26 year career with the Police Department. This is not about his salary of $100,464. This is about the pattern of behavior from a person who has his and is now taking from those below him. This is about the pattern of deceit and power. To make this even worse; the mayor began planning for his deceit BEFORE he was even elected for his second term. Planned Raise On February 13, 2008, well before the mayor's re-election, the mayor's staff is making plans to take full salary.
The mayor sees nothing wrong with the manner in which he began taking his entire salary as well as his retirement. Let's keep in mind the mayor's retiree benefit as well as medical is locked in and cannot be taken away. The mayor enjoys the potential 10% annual increase to his retiree medical payment. What I find puzzling is the statement from his office that he is NOT participating in the retirement system for the purpose of raising his retirement from the city.
I would like the mayor, not one of his underlings, to explain the portion of Michael Lawson's comment in the February 13, 2008, e-mail to Sara Cavatalo, "This salary projection assumes that the Mayor would still receive his reduced salary of $1 .395 .19/pay period for a full 11 pay periods (ending November 30, 2008). The full salary would be assumed for the remaining 15 pay periods (53,864/pay period), along with the full legislative retirement benefits." The indication is the mayor is taking advantage of the Legislative vesting and participation in SDCERS. Another secret within the wall of City Hall???
Darren Pudgel, the mayor's mouth piece (An improvement from Fred Sainz), explained to a reporter the mayor was taking his full salary and retirement when it was discovered in papers presented to the City Council during discussions about raises for the Council and the mayor. No one was aware the mayor had decided to start taking his full salary. He kept it secret and did not share this very important change. Why? Maybe because he knew he was going to demand employees pay more of their retirement contributions (reneging on past promises), salary cuts, reductions in medical benefits for employees, freezing of retiree medical benefits, reductions in DROP and the unilateral changes to vested and earned retirement benefits. The mayor then pipes up and said he did not know how to address the change and felt it inappropriate to hold a press conference or issue a press release. Ya Think? He didn't say anything because he knew what he was doing would not be perceived well by ANYONE!!! It was again a political decision based on how it would make him look.
The mayor made the pledge to take a reduced salary for political reasons during a very tight and hotly contested election to replace Mayor Murphy. He garnered a ton of political capital with the move and you can bet his salary was made up by the boards he sits on and members of the Republican Party. Bottom line; the public had a right to know he changed his mind and was now taking his full salary along with his retirement payments. This highlights another lapse of credibility and leaves the public to wonder what else is being kept from them. Someone equated it to cheating on one's spouse; when presented with evidence of the indiscretion; saying you wanted to tell them all about it, but didn't know how.
Now, could someone explain to me how the mayor can go from $120,000 total compensation in December 2008, to $192,464 in December 2008 by simply getting re-elected and then turn around and do what he has done to the employees of the City of San Diego?
Is it just me?