Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dellums Agrees to Pay Cut; Wants to Kill Slush Funds

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 7:14 AM

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums has offered to cut his pay by 10 percent and slash his office's budget by 20 percent to help solve the city's huge budget problem, according to the Chron and Trib. The mayor also proposed eliminating slush-fund accounts, known as "pay-go," from both his own office and those of the eight city council members. Dellums rightly labeled pay-go as "not good policy" that "perpetuates parochialism." Council members have historically used the slush funds to improve their individual districts, as opposed to supporting programs that benefit all of Oakland.

The mayor's offer to cut his own office by 20 percent came in response to a proposal by four council members to cut it by one-third. Dellums said the lower number was fair because council members had offered to cut their own staffs by 20 percent, too. It'll be interesting to see whether council members fight to keep their slush funds and force the mayor to slash his own budget by a larger percentage than their own. In addition, the mayor's offer to take a substantial pay cut should finally put to rest the erroneous rumor fueled by Chron columnist Chip Johnson that Dellums wanted a pay increase during the economic crisis. The council is scheduled to finalize the city's budget by June 30.

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