Proposition J - Supervisors' Salaries

Voter Guide
This measure appeared on the November 2002 San Francisco ballot.


What it does

Proposition J would amend the Charter to classify the eleven elected jobs of Supervisor as full-time and allow the Civil Service Commission to set the Supervisor's salaries every five years based on a survey of comparable full-time city council and county boards of supervisors around the state. A Supervisor's salary would incur the same changes in compensation that city workers agree to during periods of reducing costs.

Why it is on the ballot

Under the current Charter, the job of supervisor is considered to be part-time. The salary for supervisors is set in the City Charter; therefore, the salary can only change through placing a Charter amendment on the ballot.

In June 1998, voters adopted a board-submitted charter amendment, Proposition B, to increase the annual salary starting as of January 2000 from $23,924 to $37,585 ($47,000 including benefits). The Supervisor salary had remained unchanged since 1982, when voters increased the salary from $9,600 to $23,924. Currently, a Supervisor has no restriction on outside employment.


Those who support Proposition J state:

  • A Supervisor would depend less on outside income and spend more time as a legislator.
  • An increased salary would could attract more or better candidates to run for Supervisor , especially candidates without independent sources of income.
  • The salary of Supervisor should be determined in a non-partisan manner through the Civil Service Commission and not by the whims of electoral politics.


Those who oppose Proposition J state:

  • Duties of a San Francisco Supervisor are intended to be purely legislative. Comparisons with county commissioner salaries are not relevant, since those positions (where there is no mayor) are both legislative and administrative, and have considerably more authority and financial responsibility.

SPUR's analysis

Proposition J would bring the Supervisor's salaries in line with the $88,000 average ($118,000 including benefits) calculated by the Controller based on Supervisors in six Bay Area counties and four city councils in four major cities. Based on that average, the Controller anticipates that the cost to the City would be approximately $777,000 per year, increasing over time.

This measure would provide for regular salary surveys and adjustments by the Civil Service Commission. This approach would end the two-decade practice of relying on voters to increase salaries.

SPUR recommends a "Yes" vote on Proposition J.