Hardy Brown, Publisher Emeritus, Black Voice News 

My thoughts on the City of San Bernardino mayor’s compensation as related to responsibilities and expectations related to his/her job performance for any occupant of the office. 

San Bernardino is a city with a population of  222,101, the largest city and county seat in the largest county (in geographic area) in the 48 contiguous states. It is the second largest city in the Inland Empire and the 18th largest in the state of California. 

We are home to the San Bernardino International Airport, the one most often used by U.S. presidents whenever they come to the Inland Empire because of runway size and security concerns. 

San Bernardino is also the gateway to all products delivered to consumers in the country.The county is also home to the San Bernardino recreational mountain communities of Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, in addition to hosting the 4th largest school district in the state. 

San Bernardino’s mayor is generously compensated compared to other mayors

The mayor of San Bernardino is not only the 9th highest paid in California at $115,561 per year, plus $24,665 per year in retirement and healthcare contributions, but is also the highest paid in the Inland Empire. 

Mayor of the City of San Bernardino John Valdivia (source: theievoice.com).

Riverside City population is 324,302, the mayor ranks 13th among the highest paid in California and the 2nd highest paid in the Inland Empire at $88,627 per year, plus $35,823 per year in retirement and healthcare contributions. 

The population of the City of Rialto is 102,567 and the city’s mayor ranks 16th among the highest paid in California and the 3rd highest in the Inland Empire at $74,275 per year plus $1,089 for retirement and health contributions.  

Ontario’s population is 182,004 and the mayor ranks 18th among the highest paid mayors in California at $68,880 per year plus $22,689 annually for retirement and healthcare contributions and is the 4th highest paid mayor in the Inland Empire 

What we want the mayor of San Bernardino to do in exchange for his/her generous compensation is outlined in the city charter:  

Section 303. Powers and Duties of the Mayor 

The mayor shall have the following powers and perform the following duties, in addition to others as specified in this Charter: 

  • (a)  Attend and preside at meetings of the Council and may participate fully in all discussions, but shall not be entitled to vote except in the event of a tie, to veto a matter, and as otherwise provided in this Charter; 
  • (b)  Have the authority to veto any Council action approved by fewer than five (5) members of the Council; 
  • (c)  Shall participate in the vote (1) to appoint or remove the City Manager, City Attorney and City Clerk and fix their compensation and (2) to appoint or remove members of boards, commissions or committees, except committees made up wholly of less than a majority of City Council members;
  • (d)  Appoint the members and officers of Council committees (committees made up wholly of less than a majority of City Council members), and perform other duties as specified by the Council; 
  • (e)  Be recognized as the head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law; 
  • (f)  Be the chief spokesperson for the city; and 
  • (g)  Represent the city in intergovernmental relations and establish and maintain partnerships and regional leadership roles to advance the city’s interest; and may delegate such roles to other members of the Council; and 
  • (h)  Execute all ordinances, resolutions and contracts approved by the City Council except as otherwise authorized by the City Council. 

The mayor shall have no administrative, appointment or removal powers except as otherwise provided in this Charter. 

The office of Mayor shall be a full-time position and the incumbent shall not engage in any business, professional or occupational activities that interfere with the discharge of the duties of the office. 

San Bernardino City Hall (source: pinterest.com)

A mayor should act with professionalism

To me the first thing I consider to be important is being full-time and not being able to even have a part-time job or business that would allow someone to increase their income. 

The mayor is also responsible for implementing all ordinances, resolutions and contracts approved by the council, while also representing the city in intergovernmental relations, establishing and maintaining partnerships to advance the city’s interest, while being the chief spokesperson for the city. 

In my opinion these are very important functions for anyone who takes these responsibilities seriously and is to be held to account for them. 

This does not include preparing for and presiding (refereeing) over the council meetings. 

The mayor should know everything that is being presented before the council. The current mayor however, does a horrible job performing this duty–he is rude to council members, staff and public speakers. 

As a spokesperson, the current mayor’s image and reputation does not bode well for the city, his speaking skills and abilities are excellent but his demeanor and attitude subtracts from his words. As the city’s spokesperson the mayor represents all of us in the city so compensation is critical to having someone in the role who can put two sentences together without saying, um and  umrahing  you to death. 

Veto power

Having the power to VETO is an awesome power for one person to exercise when used for the benefit of all citizens and should not be taken lightly. But, when used for the mayor’s personal vendettas or benefit, it can be costly to local taxpayers and the city’s image. 

A range for mayoral compensation?

Not wanting to bore you with more reasons, I think the mayor’s position should be within a range of $75,000 to $125,000 annually, with every mayor having to begin at $75,000 to start. Then after the first-year he/she would be eligible for consideration for an increase based on a confidential, individually written performance evaluation from each council member, city manager, city clerk and city attorney. Those evaluations would be sent directly to the Elected Official Compensation Advisory Commission for a final decision. 

The amount of increase would then be based on the collective average of the ratings on the performance evaluations.

Hardy Brown, Sr.

Hardy L. Brown, Sr. was publisher of the Black Voice News from 1980 - 2012. An active community member, Mr. Brown periodically writes opinions for the newspaper on matters or interest to the broader community.