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Summary of Police Chief's testimony on 2-11-10
regarding looming budget cutbacks and effects

See video of 2/10/10 Board of Supervisors’ Budget Subcommittee (Supervisors John Avalos, Ross Mirkarimi, and Sean Elsbernd in attendance; email their first name with dot then last name to send email) meeting with Chief Charles Gascon discussing the 2010-2011 SFPD budget cutback of $47 million and coming layoffs of SFPD officers 

See also, news reports: SF Examiner 2-12-10 “Police union opposes more wage concessions” by Bruce Begin and “Some cops may shift to part time” by Joshua Sabatini

  • The Chief is now seeking to cut SFPD expenses in the amount of $47 million for fiscal year 2010-2011.

    (Note: the Mayor earlier informed the Police Commission this would be $30 and on January 29 the Police Chief mentioned a mid-year cutback of $6 million).

  • The Chief said that he has been working with the police union to find ways to control the mounting civil service pension obligations and how to deal with overtime (juicy) assignment cut-backs in SFPD expenses yet meet the public safety interests and needs.

    (Note: the Police Chief has yet to contact the Patrol Special Police to work with them on ways to fill in even as the SFPD are cut back and losing officers.)

  • The Chief's budget for last year, 2009-2010 was $350 million. Due to mandated salary, benefits, and pension requirements the Chief is now proposing a $370 budget.

    (Note: this is $20 million more than last year.)

  • The Chief said his 'hands are tied' by the MOU with the police union.

    (Note: in other words, only our political leaders can change the issue of overpaid city police and deal with prospective law suits by union interests).

  • Supervisor Mirkarimi noted that from a present total of 2974 SFPD employees (1971of them are the Prop D-mandated number of actual SFPD officers), a total of 2036 now earn $100,000 or more, or two-thirds of the SFPD employees earn over $100,000 per year.

    (Note: in 2006 the average San Franciscan earned $34,000 while the average SFPD salary was $47,000, more than many other urban cities including New York, Boston, and Dallas. In that same year, 395 SFPD employees earned over $150,000, not including future lifetime pension payouts and not considering the age that most SFPD officers may or will retire, namely in the early 60's.)

  •  Supervisor Avalos noted that the Mayor is calling for a 20% cutback in every city department.

    (Note: 20% of the SFPD budget of 370 million, is more like $70--not the $47 million the Chief reported he is targeting for cut backs. The Chief has presented only a plan to reduce his budget by about 60% of what the Mayor has called for city-wide. Where will the other $23 million come from?)

  • The Chief said his goal is to reduce expenses, not service.

    (Note: how will he do that when 1971 officers constituting 90% of the police budget, are reduced by about 600, 700, 800 or more officers next year? How will he do this when he has not taken advantage of the early-intervention, no cost to taxpayer Patrol Specials, who prevent crime to begin with?)

  • The Chief said that he has now 'institutionalized' community policing by setting up Community Advisory Boards in the ten police districts and a centralized Community Advisory.

    (Note: no client of the Patrol Specials have been invited to participate in these ‘community policing committees,” which in any case are advisory only, are only months old, and have no particular policy power. Until these committees are fully charged with being results-oriented and specifically addressing the fiscal crises, then relying upon the Patrol Special Police makes more sense. This is particularly true when the Police Chief himself said that the SFPD officers have to be 'taught how to do it' and thus, time is wasted with this educational process when the Patrol Specials are already neighborhood, community police and ready to serve.)

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