Mayor Ron Dellums will be paid $47,000 more a year than his predecessor, under a recommendation Thursday by an Oakland City Council committee. Dellums is to make $162,000 annually compared to Jerry Brown’s salary of $115,000 — if the full council on February 6, adopts the Rules Committee recommendation. “I think $115,000 was way too low for the job,” said Dellums spokesman Mike Healy, calling the raise “the right thing to do.” The committee could have recommended that Dellums make an additional $20,000 under city law, as some Dellums’ backers wanted, but Councilman Larry Reid said he did not believe there were enough votes on the eight-member council to support paying the new mayor that much.
The council has the power to set the mayor’s salary when a new one takes office. Under the city charter, the mayor can earn between 70 and 90 percent of the average salary of mayors or city managers of the six closest cities in population. A report by City Administrator Deborah Edgerly calculated that Dellums should make between $142,000 and $182,000. “I would have been prepared to increase his salary to the full amount — $182,000,” Reid said. “But I don’t think that would have worked with the council majority.”
It’s no secret that some in Dellums camp wanted the mayor to make $182,000. But Reid said he chose to second a motion by Councilman Henry Chang to set Dellums’ pay at $162,000 – or 80 percent of the average. Reid, who is publicly on the outs with council President Ignacio De La Fuente, said he decided not make his own motion to pay Dellums the higher amount, because he said he “assumed something already had been worked out” between De La Fuente, his ally Chang, and the rest of the council majority.
De La Fuente denied, however, that the fix was in. He also pointed out that during the Rules Committee meeting Reid said he would have agreed to a salary as low as $150,000 a year. Earlier this month, Reid lost his bid to become council president after Dellums refused to endorse him.