Eight out of nine Long Beach council members, including Mayor Robert Garcia, took a voluntary pay cut to their salaries as the city furloughed its staff to help with a budget shortfall due mostly to the COVID-19 health pandemic.
City Auditor Laura Doud, City Prosecutor Doug Haubert and City Attorney Charles Parkin also took voluntary cuts to their full-time salaries, Long Beach Finance Director John Gross confirmed with the Post.
In August, the city announced it had reached agreements with city employee unions to implement 26 furlough days over the next year in exchange for future pay raises and other benefits. That move was expected to save the city $11 million.
The council placed a voluntary pay cut item on the agenda during a Sept. 8 meeting in which the city’s budget was approved. A motion that direct money saved from elected officials’ salaries to city libraries and parks did not get approved. Instead, the forgone salaries will be distributed to the city’s general fund, which is used to pay for public services.
The mayor’s salary is $157,145.16 annually, while the council salary is $39,290.47, according Gross. Due to federal tax laws and pension agreements, the city could not slash these salaries by 10% across the board, as workers did. Instead, the city made an approximate cut to their individual salaries to equate a 10% pay cut and called it a donation.
Gross said the reduction went into effect during the Sept. 26 pay period.
Here’s the elected officials that did or did not participate in the pay cut, and their reasons behind the decision:
- Mary Zendejas, District 1: Yes. “COVID-19 has affected us all, and she wanted to do her part and be in solidarity with city staff,” Zendejas’ Chief of Staff Ray Morquecho wrote in an email.
- Jeannine Pearce, District 2: No. “I’m a single mother, living in the second district with rent at $1,900 a month for a substandard apartment. My monthly take home from council is just over $2,000. No I cannot give up $400 a month,” Pearce told the Post.
- Suzie Price, District 3: Yes, according to Gross. Price did not return a message for comment.
- Daryl Supernaw, District 4: Yes. “Councilman Supernaw is taking the voluntary 10% pay cut as a gesture of solidarity with city staff,” Barbara Moore with Supernaw’s office wrote in an email.
- Stacy Mungo, District 5: Yes. “She did so to stand in solidarity with city staff and residents to ensure that our City remains fiscally prudent,” Mungo’s Chief of Staff Summer Smith wrote in an email.
- Dee Andrews, District 6, vice mayor: Yes. “He believes in standing in solidarity with all city employees who have been furloughed or had to undergo a pay cut,” Dee’s Chief of Staff Isabel Arvea wrote in an email.
- Roberto Uranga, District 7: Yes. “I am a former city employee and know the sacrifices employees make when faced with furloughs. I continue to serve the city and continue to support our city in any way I can, including taking furlough days,” Uranga said in a statement.
- Al Austin, District 8: Yes. “We should not ask our employees to sacrifice if we aren’t willing to do the same. The financial health of our city is everyone’s responsibility,” Austin said.
- Rex Richardson, District 9: Yes. “It’s important that we lead by example,” Richardson said.
- Robert Garcia, mayor: Yes. “He believes it’s important to lead by example,” Garcia’s Chief of Staff Diana Tang wrote in an email.
Other elected officials
- Laura Doud, City auditor: Yes. Megan King, spokeswoman for the city auditor’s office, confirmed with the Post that Doud participated in the “10% pay cut consistent with other city employees.”
- Doug Haubert, City prosecutor: Yes. “If the city is going to ask my rank-and-file employees to take a pay cut, we should be leading this by example,” Haubert said.
- Charles Parkin, City attorney: Yes, according to Gross. Parkin did not return a message for comment.
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