SF City Hall Getting Crowded at the Top

Executive rolls grow as layoffs strike city departments

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009  |  Updated 8:07 AM PDT
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SF City Hall Getting Crowded at the Top

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"Sorry, boss, you just laid off the guy who knows how to turn the lights out."

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Since 2005, San Francisco has been adding managers and executives to the city's payroll far faster than other classes of jobs.

According to the city controller, executive and other managerial positions have grown 20 percent since 2005.

But lower-level positions have grown much more slowly. For instance, the number of city firefighters has only grown four percent, and cops nine percent.

Yet all that upper-level expertise hasn't been able to manage the city out of a massive budget deficit, which is expected to grow next year.

To deal with the shortfall, the mayor's office has asked all city departments to cut their budgets by 25 percent.

Since it's the managers who will be doing that trimming, it will be interesting to see who gets the pink slips.

After all, it's the rank-and-file employees who actually provide the services -- and at lower pay scales.

"[I]n 2005 there was roughly one executive for every 30 city workers on the payroll. Today there is one for every 25," the San Francisco Chronicle's Matier and Ross point out.

If only those numbers were class sizes at San Francisco public schools and not city payroll figures.

Jackson West would love to see a Muni executive try to navigate a bus down Stockton.

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