money.jpgNewsom Aims Latest, Greatest Fuck You At Public Defender

UPDATE 2:27 p.m. Tuesday: Mayoral spokesman Tony Winnicker reminded us that the union contracts in question were written months ago, well before Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s ballot measure was written. While the effect is the same, the MOUs — which roll back any wage concessions if future state or local laws affect employee wages or benefits — were not written with SF Smart Reform in mind.

Mayor Gavin Newsom is no stranger to the “don’t get mad, get even” adage, but his latest act of revenge may go well beyond getting even and would in fact put him well in the lead, if one were to keep score.

The mayor has made it clear he is no fan of Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s pension reform ballot measure. But now, it appears Newsom has quietly taken a big step towards sabotaging Smart Reform SF, before even the Department of Elections has had a chance to see if it has qualified for the November ballot.

Hidden in the contracts between the city and the unions representing the city’s police officers and firefighters is a clause that would cancel all givebacks to the city made by those unions — including an eight percent giveback from firefighters — if Adachi’s pension reform measure or any other state or local law affecting employee benefits is passed.

Such a provision could make it untenable for anyone to support Adachi’s pension reform measure — and would indeed make it that much easier to campaign against it — as it would unbalance the budget.

In a letter addressed to city leaders Monday, Adachi laid out his case as follows:

Clause 188(b) of the proposed new Police Union contract reads: “In the event that a City Charter amendment or State Ballot measure or State legislation is implemented [before June 30, 2012], resulting in any reduction in represented employee wages or fringe benefits, the [new wage concessions] shall terminate.”

“The Firefighter contract has similar language,” Adachi wrote. “These Clauses allow the police and fire to terminate their salary concessions in the event that any law passes that would reduce their salaries. No other unions received such a clause in their contracts. This provision was included to exclusively protect police and fire from actions by voters or lawmakers. There is no reason to give Police and Fire favored standing over other city employees.”

While the union contracts were altered with knowledge and cooperation of Newsom, mayoral spokesman Tony Winnicker dismissed Adachi’s complaints on Monday. “We’re not buying in to Jeff Adachi’s characterization of the union agreements,” Winnicker told The Appeal. “He’s not part of the discussion.”

The union contracts are set to be ratified by the Board of Supervisors today; should the police and fire union contracts be rejected by the Board, they would have to be renegotiated in order for the city to have a balanced budget. That may prove difficult to do, but not impossible. Fiscal conservative and mayoral ally Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said mid-Monday he’s not yet sure what he’ll do when voting time rolls around today; Supervisor John Avalos, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, was more prolix.

“[The new language] is a crass poison pill… which makes it that much more difficult to balance the budget,” Avalos told The Appeal on Monday. “[Public safety employees] do important work and they put their lives on the line, but when it comes to their MOU, it appears they’re putting their wages and benefits ahead of the good of the city.”

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  • RC Cola

    This is a deliberate, underhanded attempt by Gavin Newsom who is in bed with the unions to circumvent the will of 75 THOUSAND San Francisco voters. Gavin, why don’t you give democracy a fighting chance?

  • RC Cola

    This is a deliberate, underhanded attempt by Gavin Newsom who is in bed with the unions to circumvent the will of 75 THOUSAND San Francisco voters. Gavin, why don’t you give democracy a fighting chance?

  • bloomsm

    Gav to Adachi: checkmate.

  • bloomsm

    Gav to Adachi: checkmate.

  • Greg Dewar

    this and the other nonsense Newsom is pulling is classic Peter Ragone – short term gains with a “Fuck YOU” added to it , all to serve Newsom’s short term ambitions this fall.

    Newsom’s legacy will be that of destroying the city to service his election needs. Remember the giant pay raise he gave police and other city employees in 2007?

    But hey, he looks cute so it’s ok right…remember his smiling face when your taxes are sky high and your services suck even worse than they do now!

  • Greg Dewar

    this and the other nonsense Newsom is pulling is classic Peter Ragone – short term gains with a “Fuck YOU” added to it , all to serve Newsom’s short term ambitions this fall.

    Newsom’s legacy will be that of destroying the city to service his election needs. Remember the giant pay raise he gave police and other city employees in 2007?

    But hey, he looks cute so it’s ok right…remember his smiling face when your taxes are sky high and your services suck even worse than they do now!

  • jonathanjoe

    youv’e got to hand those police and fire guys for anticipating the attacks on workers wages and pensions. SEIU and the other unions should have this language as well. this is what collective bargaining is all about, and it’s the law.

    city workers just made concessions to save millions of dollars, including agreeing to pay 7.5% for their retirement. they have every right to protect themselves from idiots like adachi, who is attacking city workers (an easy target) as the reason for the cities budget woes. the city is not broke because workers have pensions. the city, the state and the feds are broke because big banks took the economy off the cliff, we are spending 200 billion a year in iraq and afghanistan, and the bush tax cuts cost the federal government trillions. stop crying about city workers, go after the real money. after all, it ours.

  • jonathanjoe

    youv’e got to hand those police and fire guys for anticipating the attacks on workers wages and pensions. SEIU and the other unions should have this language as well. this is what collective bargaining is all about, and it’s the law.

    city workers just made concessions to save millions of dollars, including agreeing to pay 7.5% for their retirement. they have every right to protect themselves from idiots like adachi, who is attacking city workers (an easy target) as the reason for the cities budget woes. the city is not broke because workers have pensions. the city, the state and the feds are broke because big banks took the economy off the cliff, we are spending 200 billion a year in iraq and afghanistan, and the bush tax cuts cost the federal government trillions. stop crying about city workers, go after the real money. after all, it ours.

  • SSmalibu

    AMEN!!!

  • SSmalibu

    AMEN!!!