City voters angry with Muni’s performance could start a sweeping overhaul of the agency — from giving the Board of Supervisors sway over MTA Board member appointments, changing how Muni operators are paid and creating a new post of MTA Inspector-General — if they approve at the ballot box an ambitious charter amendment introduced at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
If approved, the charter amendment would:
— Allow the Board of Supervisors to pick three SFMTA Board members, allow the Mayor to pick three SFTMA Board members, with the seventh pick shared by the Mayor and Board President;
— Provide an additional $40 million to Muni in the form of set-asides from property tax revenue;
— Allow the Board to reject the Muni budget by a simple majority of six votes, not seven as is currently required;
— Require Board of Supervisors approval for any change or cut in Muni service of 5 percent or more (such as those cuts which went into effect on May 8);
— Create a new post of MTA Inspector General, which would be charged with conducting audits, investigating fraud complaints and overseeing work orders, which would all be written contracts;
— Eliminate the much-decried transit workers salary survey, bus drivers’ work contracts would be set by collective bargaining only.
Supervisors Campos, Chiu, Mar and Mirkarimi cosponsored the charter amendment introduced Tuesday, the final day a supervisor could introduce ballot measures for the November polls. Any of the above reforms included in the charter amendment could be altered or removed before the charter amendment reaches voters. The Board has until July 20 to decide what to send to the ballot.
Left unsaid was what would be cut from the general fund budget to provide for the $40 million to Muni in set-asides, and what difficulties progressive supervisors would have with labor allies with general fund cuts and the change to Muni drivers’ salary structures.
Mayoral spokesman Tony Winnicker blasted the charter amendment, questioning board members’ desires to be “eleven mini-Mayors.”
Muni drivers’ compensation has been a cause celebre for Supervisor Sean Elsbernd for some time, and is the focus of the Fix Muni Now campaign.
Fix Muni Now is currently collecting signatures to put on the ballot a charter amendment removing the nationwide salary survey — guaranteeing Muni operators the second-highest wages in the nation — from the city charter. Fix Muni Now must submit 46,000 signatures by July 6 to get on the ballot; Elsbernd — who was not consulted by his supervisorial colleagues in creating Tuesday’s measure — says that campaign will continue unabated.
“I have seen these supervisors submit things and cosponsor things, and then when they’re opposed in public comment, they remove them,” Elsbernd told The Appeal. “We’ll be out collecting signatures today, tomorrow [and up until July 6].”