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Fact Check: What the Mayor Makes

False [1]Statement: “I do think we have possibly the lowest compensated mayor in the top 10 cities,” political strategist Laura Fink said on an episode of NBC 7’s “Politically Speaking” earlier this month.

Determination: False

Analysis: The controversy surrounding salaries for San Diego politicians is not a new one.

For more than a decade, a salary setting panel has recommended raises for elected officials but to no avail, the result of the uncomfortable position city officials have been placed in by having to vote on their own raises – and the political consequences that might follow from that.

According to a San Diego County Grand Jury report [2] released early last month, salaries for the mayor and City Council members have stayed the same since 2003.

But Democratic political consultant Laura Fink took it further recently by saying Mayor Kevin Faulconer was the lowest-paid mayor of the 10 largest cities nationally.

“I do think we have possibly the lowest compensated mayor in the top 10 cities,” she said.

That’s not true.

Mayors from San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix all rank lower than San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who will make $100,464 this year. The lowest paid is San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor, who will make just $4,040 this year.

Here’s a graph that shows where San Diego stacks up on the national mayoral salary scale:

Mayoral Salaries in the Top U.S. Cities [3]


Mayors, of course, could receive compensation other than salaries, the biggest of which would likely be a pension. We checked with retirement system officials in Texas and San Antonio’s mayor doesn’t receive a pension. That means Faulconer’s still safely above Taylor, at the very least.

Fink acknowledged she was wrong.

“I might be the only Democratic operative in San Diego who wants Kevin Faulconer to get a raise,” Fink said. “While it is never fun to get a false rating, I’ll happily take the heat.”

There may be the possibility of the mayor getting a raise in the near future. Yesterday the Council’s Charter Review Committee sent the Council a proposal to link the mayor and Council members’ salaries to outside agencies so politicians will no longer decide how much money they make. The Council could decide to put the measure before the public as part of a broader charter overhaul targeted for 2016.

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