Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Raising Base Salary of Santa Monica City Manager- Urgent Questions

City Council proposes raising manager salary to over $400k next. year

Email to City Manager David White and Lori Gentles

Dear David and Lori.

You have generally been highly responsive to inquiries from me, so I believe you will reply to this urgent email today. The issue of the increase in David's salary comes before Council only 6 days after it was announced in yesterday's Council meeting Agenda for Tuesday., so time is extremely of the essence. The public and media should know your thoughts now on an issue that might be significant( both on its own merits and generally on the attitude of Council as to prudent City spending ) when the seats of Phil, Gleam, Christine and Oscar are to be determined 11 months from now. The voters will surely remember how each current Council member discussed and voted on this issue next Tuesday.

If an outside person represented the City in the negotiations with David, I respectfully request you provide a copy of this to that person so an answer today from him or her can be supplied.

Harriet has researched the current annual base salaries of the heads of other major governmental units, and the following are her findings:

LA Mayor- $269 365

NYC Mayor- $258 750

Calif Governor - $224 020

Compare those salaries with those proposed for David in the contract amendment to be acted on Tuesday by Council, which are:

Current period- $365 952.

The year starting Jan 14, 2024- $402 552.

I realize other factors are relevant to this analysis, including any housing provisions, and they should be referred to in your reply to you. However, a key point is that these jurisdictions have 40 to 350 times that of Santa Monica in terms of population!

The increase are on top of numbers agreed to by Council in January, 2021, during the height of Covid and its disastrous effects on City revenues. The major issue is what was the thinking then. Harriet did not cheery pick the above figures. What comparative salary numbers then were considered by Council in reaching agreement with David? The public must be advised.

Although I strongly agree with the negative public safety deficiency conclusions of John Alle directed at David principally, please do not assume this note is a judgment on the complete performance of David. It is not because too many facts relevant to that conclusion are unknown to me.

I , and many others, look forward to your response today.

Best regards, Stan Epstein


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