Despite $1.5 Billion Deficit, San Francisco Officials Make Huge Salaries

Despite $1.5 Billion Deficit, San Francisco Officials Make Huge Salaries
San Francisco Mayor London Breed speaks during a news conference in San Francisco on Jan. 15, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Mark Tapscott

San Francisco’s London Breed is America’s highest-paid mayor—being paid a $342,974 salary, plus $109,447 in perks, for a grand total of $452,421—but her city set an all-time record in 2019 with nearly 31,000 reports of human waste on the streets and sidewalks.

Breed is far from the exception among the City by the Bay’s workforce, as nearly 19,000 of her colleagues get total compensation of $150,000 or more annually, according to public records compiled by Open the Books.

Open the Books is a Burr Ridge, Illinois, nonprofit government watchdog that has compiled and posted on the internet compensation data for 64 million public employees in America.

San Francisco is home to Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom. City voters haven't elected a Republican mayor since Mayor George Christopher left office in 1964.

Other notables among San Francisco’s highly paid city workforce, according to Open the Books, include the following:
  • Former city public works director Mohammed Nuru—the self-proclaimed “Mr. Clean” of city politics—received $380,000 annually before resigning in February following his arrest by the FBI on fraud charges linked to a porta-potty contract. His former department is responsible for removing human feces and used hypodermic needles from city streets and sidewalks.
  • 31 members of Breed’s mayoral staff receive at least $200,000 annually.
  • Police Chief William Scott was paid $434,613, while four of his assistant chiefs received between $346,528 and $445,539 annually (one is paid more than Scott due to greater seniority).
  • San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto received $357,570. (San Francisco is both a city and a county and thus has police and sheriffs’ departments.)
  • Homeless Services and Supportive Housing Director Jeff Kosinsky is paid $238,182 annually.
Those figures come at a time when San Francisco’s city government has a $1.5 billion deficit. Even so, Open the Books President Adam Andrzejewski said Sept. 1 in announcing the data, that the deficit “isn’t stopping 18,759 highly compensated employees from each bringing home pay packages worth $150,000 (or more) annually."

“We found truck drivers loaded up with $262,898 salaries; city painters making $270,190; firefighters earning $316,306; and plumbing supervisors cleaning up $348,291 every year. One deputy sheriff earned $574,595 last year–including $315,896 in overtime," Andrzejewski said.

“On average, the city’s 44,526 employees received pay and perks costing taxpayers $131,335 apiece. Four out of 10—18,749 city workers—received a compensation package exceeding $150,000 per year. The pay package includes retirement, health, overtime, pension, and other benefits on top of base salary.”

More than 39,000 of the city’s workers are represented by municipal unions. The total value of compensation paid to union members exceeds $5 billion annually.

The largest of the unions is Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents more than 17,000 city workers, followed by the Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 with more than 6,400.

San Francisco isn't unique among the United States' largest cities in paying extremely lucrative pay packages to employees.

The highest-paid city employee in the United States in 2018, according to Open the Books data, was San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley, who received $574,594.

Next came New York City Office of Payroll Administration administrative staff analyst Lyndelle Phillips, with an even $500,000 in compensation in 2019.

Closely following Phillips and working as a teacher in the same office is Elizabeth Rodriquez, drawing annual compensation of $498,865.

Others include:
  • Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax at $410,692.
  • Houston Emergency Physician Director David Persse at $403,230.
  • Then-Chicago Commissioner of Aviation Ginger Evans at $400,000.
  • Los Angeles chief legislative analyst Sharon Tso at $375,464.
  • New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza at $357,973.
"Taxpayers in these urban areas are being milked like dairy cows. It's a legalized money laundering scheme whereby politicians are elected by powerful public employee unions,” Andrzejewski told The Epoch Times on Sept. 3.

“Then, big pay and pension packages are awarded, but never fully funded. The bargain is corrupt but ‘legal.’ No wonder Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs a $1 trillion bailout of state and local governments. Urban areas like San Francisco need your money to keep their party going."

Andrzejewski was referring to demands by congressional Democrats that Congress approve as part of a new CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus economic recovery package of $1 trillion in funds to help states and cities with huge deficits.

Contact Mark Tapscott at
Mark Tapscott is an award-winning investigative editor and reporter who covers Congress, national politics, and policy for The Epoch Times. Mark was admitted to the National Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Hall of Fame in 2006 and he was named Journalist of the Year by CPAC in 2008. He was a consulting editor on the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series “Other Than Honorable” in 2014.