Oop Boppa Loop Moppa Toppa
by Mark Scaramella, June 24, 2011
Readers may recall that the County’s budget process simply orders all departments to simply cut their budgets by a fixed amount. Three budget units were “unable to reduce down to the 15% Net County Cost target.”
One of them was the Promotional Alliance budget, an annual $300k gift to the wine and tourism “industry” that mostly pays for obscure advertising in a few Bay Area publications, salaries for the flagrantly unessential project's staffers and free booze for so-called wine writers.
Guess what the Board of Supervisors elected to do?
Give the wine and scented soap people their $300,000 gift of scarce public money — again — no questions asked.
And then we have the Board of Supervisors own “budget unit.”
“This budget unit was unable to comply with the directed 15% reductions in Net County Cost. Reductions were made to Office Expenses and Out of County Travel based upon current year use and an expected decline in both areas for FY 2011-2012. It should be noted that one FTE [full time equivalent position] within this budget unit has declined certain benefit compensations. Without this reduction in compensation, this budget unit would have required an increase in Net County Cost.”
Translation: Oop boppa loop moppa toppa.
One other “budget unit” was unable to take a 15% budget cut this year: "Miscellaneous" at $1.674 million.
“Budget Unit is unable to take a 15% reduction.”
We don’t know what goes into the $1.674 million miscellaneous budget because the budget book ($10k or more just to print it) is unreadable by design. And even if we could read it, it wouldn’t matter because nobody at the County asked about it or proposed cutting it.
So, to paraphrase George Orwell, everybody’s got to take an equal budget cut — but some budget units are more equal than other budget units.
We also noted that the Board of Supervisors Budget Unit does not mention that four of the Board members have taken a 10% voluntary pay cut (perhaps because that was taken last year and it wouldn't look even dumber if they tried to claim it again to get the 15% additional savings). Supervisor Kendall Smith refuses to reduce her lush annual compensation by so much as a penny.