Friday, November 14, 2014

Fire Chief & Wiener Got How Many $600 Comp Tix?

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San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White is the City's second highest paid public employee according to public records, taking home a robust pay and benefits package totaling $422,353 last year for her services and expertise. She's not hurting for money with that kind of compensation.

District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, like all members of the Board of Supervisors, received a compensation package of $154,719 in 2013. He's hardly scrapping by to pay the rent, as far as I know.

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Why are these public officials receiving free tickets to the three-days of Outside Lands concerts through Recreation and Parks Department, when they clearly can afford to purchase them with their own funds?

Wiener received three $595 tickets totaling $1,785 and Hayes-White two tickets costing $1,190. The concerts were held in Golden Gate Park from August 8 through August 10.

For Wiener, who holds sway over the Recreation and Parks Department's annual budget, I believe it's not ethical to accept any freebies from the department.

In Hayes-White's case, she has no power over the department with a yearly paycheck well over $400,000, she should buy her own tickets.

The alleged public purpose of the comps is explained as "increasing public exposure to, and awareness of. the recreation, cultural and educational facilities available to the public in the City" and "gathering public input on City facilities and spaces".

Translation? Our public leaders like to enjoy their entitlement and privilege on the taxpayer's dime and both Hayes-White and Wiener took advantage of the perks available to them, feeding themselves at the trough.

Last night, Thursday, November 13, I attended the San Francisco fire commission's meeting to again demand the $86 million fire department immediately begin meeting at City Hall and airing their meetings on SF GovTV.

The July 10 commission minutes reveal lame excuses from Hayes-White about the expense of installing television equipment in the auditorium at the department's headquarters on Second Street and that's it's easier for her commanders to meet there instead of City Hall, taxpayers be damned. I used the minutes to argue for respecting taxpayers and putting the meeting on City media platforms.

The fire chief and her department needs lot more watchdogging and it may take action from the Board of Supervisors to bring this commission into the modern tech age and taking full advantage of TV and web streaming and video-on-demand, to better serve the general public.

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