|(Aug. 26, 2020, 6:25 p.m.) -- City Hall's proposed FY21 budget proposes no reduction (actually a small increase) in budgeted staff positions for LB's Mayor and City Council. The proposed budget also includes raises for the Mayor and all City Councilmembers (locked in under a 1980's City Charter formula.)
The full cost spending cost for LB's Mayor/Council offices (which don't fill potholes, fix streets or respond to police/fire calls for services) has reached nearly $6 million. To date, LB city management and the Mayor/Council haven't scheduled any Council meetings to discuss their nearly $6 million in proposed FY21 spending.
Some of the figures cited below are publicly accessible but some aren't. Those that aren't were provided to LBREPORT.com by the City's Chief Public Affairs Officer, Kevin Lee, in response to an inquiry by us.
Publicly visible materials (Budget Attchments L and M) show the proposed FY 21 taxpayer cost to run LB's current Mayor/Council offices: $5,769,177 It's a reduction of $237,580 from $5,813,629 in the FY 20 adopted budget (to be accomplished through unspecified "efficiencies in staffing and operations.")
However it's a slight increase in FTEs (full time equivalents), 52.39 proposed in FY21 compared to 52.12 in the adopted FY20 budget (Attachment N.)
The taxpayer cost to run Mayor Garcia's office alone isn't publicly visible budget documents. It's $1,280,901.41. It includes the Mayor's salary as well as his ten-member staff (which the incumbent Council has chosen to allow; we believe Garcia's ten member staff may be at least twice the size of Mayor staff's for immediate past Mayor Bob Foster and his predecessors.) The $1.28 million figure includes "fully loaded" costs such as health and other benefits.
The proposed budget includes a raise in the Mayor's salary and thus raises to all Councilmembers (who receive 25% of the Mayor's salary.) For FY 21, Mayor Robert Garcia's base salary is $158,398.54. His "fully loaded" cost (health and other benefits) to taxpayers is $244,718.69.
The Mayor's base $158,398 salary at means each City Council member will receive a salary in FY 21 of $39,597 ($158,398/4) in addition to reveing health, perks and other benefits for themselves and their familymembers (a sum we don't currently have that isn't publicly visible.)
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The City Charter's Mayor/Council Salary Escalator Clause
In the late 1980s, LB voters approved inserting the following verbiage in the City Charter text:
Section 203. (a) Commencing with the first Mayor to assume the office of Mayor on or after July 1, 1988, the Mayor shall receive an annual salary of Sixty-seven Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars ($67,500.00), which salary shall be automatically adjusted on July 1, 1989, and on July 1 of each year thereafter equivalent to the most recent upward change in the annual average of the Consumer Price Index as published by the United States Department of Labor for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area. For purposes of calculating the annual adjustment under this section the base year shall be that year ending with the quarter ending December 31, 1988. The Mayor's salary shall first be adjusted on July 1, 1989, and annually thereafter, based on the annually calculated change from the base year.
Below is a chart from the U.S. Dept.of Health and Human Services (source: https://www.bls.gov/regions/west/news-release/consumerpriceindex_losangeles.htm) showing the Consumer Price Index, Los Angeles area July 2020. It indicates that as of July 2020, area prices were up 1.9 percent from a year ago. On that basis, we presume LB's Mayor and Council salaries were increased by at least that amount but possibly more if city staff averaged the CPI over a full year (see chart below.) (LBREPORT.com is following up on this detail.)
The City Charter's 1980's escalator clause can only be changed by a Charter Amendment approved by a vote of the people. LB's incumbent Mayor and Council have sought voter approval for several Charter Amendments (AAA-DDD and Measure M) and during any of those elections, they could have advanced a taxpayer-friendly Charter Amendment reduction in the escalator clause...and they didn't.
Regarding "fully loaded costs for the Mayor/Council, the FY21 budget adds::
Due to the shortened timeframe for the budget process due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers presented are estimates and do not yet include interdepartmental charges updates, grant and carryover clean-up and other technical budget items; these figures will be updated for the final budget documents used for budget adoption. In addition, the numbers do not include other uses on the General Fund Group that add to the shortfall but are not currently categorized as budgeted expenditures. Examples include potential employee contract raises that are still being negotiated and impact of Measure M litigation settlement.
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