Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Horsley says rising economy led him to end his $1 salary

By Dave Boyce
Almanac Staff Writer

In explaining his decision to end his two-year stint of working for $1 a year as a San Mateo County supervisor and begin accepting his $120,000 annual salary, Supervisor Don Horsley cited the county's improved economic circumstances, including sales tax revenues and home prices. "The overall economy of San Mateo County is not what it was three years ago," Mr. Horsley told the Almanac. "People are bidding on houses again."

Mr. Horsley retired in 2007 after 35 years in law enforcement, including 14 years as county sheriff, for which he receives an annual county pension benefit of $215,000.

"I don't know if I said it. I don't remember," Mr. Horsley said when asked about the $1 a year pledge. The decision was based on the county's structural deficit, which "put us in an austerity position," he said.

In a Jan. 19, 2009, press release, 18 months before the June 2010 primary election, San Bruno-based political consultant Ed McGovern leads with this statement attributed to Mr. Horsley: "As a former San Mateo County Sheriff and county employee, I am fortunate that I receive an excellent package of benefits, and believe the compensation I would be awarded as a County Supervisor would be better spent elsewhere. Therefore, if elected, I will forgo my salary and benefits so that the money may be used for other County needs."

Asked if he wanted to comment, Mr. Horsley said "No, not really. It definitely was a press release."

In other news stories, Mr. Horsley cited medical bills for his mother-in-law as a reason to start collecting his salary. Asked to confirm that, Mr. Horsley said he considered the topic personal. "I do have a mother-in-law. I do pay for her medications," he added. "It's just different circumstances now than in 2009."

Asked if his no-salary pledge might have influenced voters in the run-off election with small business owner April Vargas, Mr. Horsley said, "No." The key to his victory was his track record, he said, adding, "I think I ran a superior campaign."

"I think most people didn't know about not taking the salary," he added. "I just think that it doesn't really strike home. I didn't find that the average voter knew that I wasn't taking a salary."

In November, voters approved Measure A, boosting sales taxes by a half cent and county revenues by a projected $60 million annually for the next 10 years. Measure A's passage was not a major factor in his decision, Mr. Horsley said.

Does he have a message to voters about deciding to take his salary? "Anyone who works six days a week, 10 hours a day, should be paid just like anyone else who works six days a week, 10 hours a day," he said. And his concurrent pension income? "I was in public service," he said. "I don't think that should be held against me."


Submitted by Lionel Emde


Anonymous said...

Oh brother. Don Horsley doesn't even need a shovel to dig a hole. Better zip it, Don. Your multiple excuses are beginning to collide. Thanks Lionel.

Anonymous said...

I vowed not to take a salary (before I broke that vow and started taking one anyway), but "I didn't find that the average voter knew that I wasn't taking a salary".

This guy is either a liar or an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Click on the "read more" link above to see the whole Almanac article, then scroll down to read the comments. People are not accepting this b.s.

Anonymous said...

Obama's socialism. Making the poor poorer and the middle class absolete. Hey! It worked. Incredible when a 208k is not enough to live on in San Mateo. And obama wants to tax the rich at 250k. Kathy Meeh gets it, look how vigorously she is defending Horsley. Socialims =BAD.

Kathy Meeh said...

Interesting how NIMBIES and far right wing conservatives hold hands when it comes to money.

There are indications that some public pension reform is happening. But Don Horsley's pension reflects 35 years of public service, achieving the highest level of police employment in this County.

As for the "click on comment", the recall effort being promoted by Michael Stogner based upon zero, good luck with that. Knock yourself out.

Anonymous 8:40 AM, as usual your comments make no sense. Don Horsley did nothing other than serve the community, he is entitled to both his pension and his salary.

Anonymous said...

the devil made him do it