What it does
Currently, members of the Board of Supervisors must pay for a portion of their city health benefits and do not receive any retirement benefits from the city. Proposition D is a charter amendment that would allow the city to pay the full cost of health benefits for members of the Board of Supervisors. The amendment would also make members of the Board of Supervisors eligible to receive retirement benefits from the city's Employee Retirement System.
Why it is on the ballot
Similar measures have been on the ballot many times in past years. SPUR supported Proposition F in 1996, which would have increased the salary of the supervisors from $23,924 to $50,000 per year, and provided for retirement benefits, including continued membership in the health services system for retirees. The voters defeated Proposition F, but approved Proposition B in 1998, a salary increase to $37,585 per year, without either a health or retirement benefits component.
Those who support this measure state:
- The work of government is important and therefore it is an important public goal to encourage high-quality individuals to undertake public service. Adequate salary and retirement and health benefits are a reasonable response to this goal.
Those who oppose this measure state:
- Being a supervisor is part-time work for which supervisors are adequately compensated.
Consistent with its earlier positions, SPUR believes that the work of government is important and therefore that it is appropriate to provide health and retirement benefits that are already available to other public servants in San Francisco. SPUR supports Proposition D.
There are two important qualifications, however, to SPUR's endorsement. First, SPUR believes that the medical benefits plan (which is not specified in the ordinance but which will be determined administratively later) should be comparable to those afforded to employees in other executive level positions in the city. Second, SPUR objects to the standard piece-meal ballot box approach to benefits and salary increases for city employees. The electorate is not provided with sufficient information to make informed decisions about the city's overall compensation system. For example, in the present case, the city has not provided the public with information either about city-wide costs of providing existing benefits or the incremental cost of providing increased benefits to the Board of Supervisors. In light of the limited number of potential beneficiaries, the fiscal impact will be small. However, it is in the city's long-term interests to revise the method by which compensation and benefits decisions are analyzed and presented to the electorate.
SPUR recommends a "Yes" vote on Proposition D.