So, while the ongoing drama known as “What About Nathaniel?” drags on at the SFMTA, we’re getting news that Yet Another Transit Boss is due to be fired – but still retain big pay and benefits. Dorothy Duggard, BART’s big boss, is set to be let go from the agency, but despite essentially being fired, will still get her big pay and benefits for 15 months. This is simliar to Mr. Ford’s contract (which the N Judah Chronicles has criticized since Day One), which also guarantees him big pay and benefits, even if he is fired.
Now, there’s been a lot of howling and screaming about how “driver pay” is allegedly the reason both agencies have financial problems, but not once do you hear a newspaper editorial or most people criticize these huge salaries for the bosses, which also include these provisions that get them paid even if they are fired. Wouldn’t you like to have a job where you could literally show up to work, completely screw up, and the moment you’re fired, you STILL get to keep on getting paid and get your benefits for a year or more? I know I sure would.
The same people who think we should pay the rank-and-file minimum wage always seem to back this concept of big pay for public sector bosses, saying we need to “get the best people.” Really? Would anyone argue we got our money’s worth from Ford, who spent most of his time tearing down the Muni system and looking for another job? Would anyone say BART is a model of efficiency?
I think people deserve to be paid well and fair in the public sector, especially since they don’t have the opportunity for things like profit sharing and stock options like those in the public sector. However, at some point one has to ask where is the “service” when you have a class of folks who make a career of jumping from agency to agency in search of a platinum parachute or another set of perks? At what point do we start paying 500,000, or even a million dollars a year for some CEO of the MTA or BART, because it’s what conventional wisdom says such people cost?
To me, and most sensible folks, unless we’re hiring Harry Potter, Darth Vader, Admiral Adama, or Yoda to come in and use their skillz and magicks to save Muni, this spiral upward of executive costs is just a race to nowhere. If we’re going to ask drivers and other workers at agencies for “sacrifice,” some has to come from the top too. It’s only fair.
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San Francisco News & Politics
For the next charter revision referendum; 1. a salary cap at for the ED, and 2. a straight up two week severance payout with applying to move on as just cause for immediate termination.
Whatever happened to making the pay for Nat Ford based on Muni’s on-time performance?
Last I heard, Muni’s on-time rate was in the 70%’s. In other words, a C average. How could someone who does C average work be worth over $300,000 per year?
In both the public and private sectors, we seem to have forgotten “pay for performance,” at least at the management level. We have been operating on the “pay and hope for performance” principle lately.
It sickens me to see line workers in the public sector vilified for their pay packages, while the leaders seem to get a free pass for 6-figure packages with huge parachutes.
Typical public sector employee unions opted for good pension and medical benefits in lieu of the things you mention: 401k plans, profit-sharing, and stock options. It’s true those benefits have not been great in the private sector the last few years, but I don’t agree that we need to bring everyone down to the poor levels paid by some big companies.
MUNI has some egregious clauses in its contract that we need to eliminate if possible, but I don’t have a problem with paying drivers a decent living, assuming they actually care about getting me to my office on time so I can earn my own decent living.