OAKLAND — Mayor Ron Dellums told reporters last spring he would take a 10 percent pay cut as a small gesture to help Oakland balance its troubled budget.
But records show he never did.
Salary data obtained by the Oakland Tribune through a public records request shows that Dellums continued to draw his $183,397 base salary through the end of 2009 and is still doing so this year.
The mayor's office said in a statement that while Dellums committed at a June 16 news conference to taking a 10 percent pay reduction, "changed family circumstances following the death of a close family member made that impossible."
The statement noted that, unlike other elected officials and city staffers, the mayor is not allowed to earn outside income.
The news of Dellums' pay flip-flop broke as City Council members and staffers prepared for a meeting Thursday evening at which they were expected to take key steps toward filling a looming $42 million budget deficit for the 2010-11 fiscal year.
Dellums' pay-cut pledge would have been a token gesture for a city repeatedly besieged by multimillion-dollar deficits, but Dellums said June 16 that he was willing to do his share to fill what at the time was an $83 million gap.
"I think he said publicly it was going to be everyone, so we expected it to be everyone," said Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale), perhaps Dellums' strongest critic on the council. "But I'm not
The mayor's pay was raised from $115,372 a year to its current level after Dellums took office in 2007. Dellums' personal financial problems came to light after he and his wife, Cynthia, were hit with a $239,000 tax lien in October for unpaid federal taxes, interest and penalties in 2005, 2006 and 2007. On Dec. 23, the Internal Revenue Service filed a $13,639 lien against the Dellumses for the tax period ending Dec. 31, 2008.
Almost all city employees, meantime, took compensation cuts of roughly 10 percent last year, either through furloughs or cuts in pay and benefits. Most elected officials took voluntary pay cuts, but Dellums is not the only one who did not.
City Attorney John Russo said he did not take a cut from his $207,349-a-year salary after the council took away management leave, accrued sick leave and vacation days in the fall of 2008. Russo said the change amounts to a pay reduction of at least 14 percent.
And City Councilmember Desley Brooks (Eastmont-Seminary) has also refused to take a cut to her $72,570 salary, saying she saves the city money by doing work on her own that other council members assign to paid staffers.
"Last year my office gave back between $150,000 and $200,000 in salary savings," Brooks said. "When you look at all of the elected officials combined and the cut that they took, it doesn't come anywhere near that amount of money."