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Follow The Supes’ Money

by Larry Bush on 04/20/2011

in Paper Trails

All right, we’ll admit upfront that it’s not a lot of money. But it is your money, and each Supervisor gets to spend it without anyone asking questions – or even looking at the books.

What is it? It is the office account that each Supervisor can spend as he or she wishes – fresh flowers every day, paper hats for the staff to wear on constituent days, mani-pedi in the office Wednesdays, whatever.

So CitiReport asked for the records and we’re ready to tell you what we learned.

Which supervisor was the most frugal? Who ran through almost every dollar in a matter of months? Which ones pay to subscribe to the San Francisco Chronicle, and which ones don’t (the answer may surprise you)?

First, not all supervisors are equal. Everyone starts out with $5,000 in mad money, unless they happen to be coming to the end of their term, in which case they get $2,500, or are taking office in mid-year, in which they get $2,500.

The Board President gets more – fifty percent more – for a total of $7,500 (this budget, Chiu had a total of $10,000 because he was Board President in two overlapping terms)

That’s the base line facts. Now to the spin.

“Squeezed Every Nickel Award” goes to…ta da…Chris Daly. Bet you didn’t see that coming.  Daly was the most frugal of all the supervisors with his public dollars, spending just $307.64 and leaving $2,192.36 on the table to go back to the city budget.

“Day Late and Dollar Short Award” goes to…Mark Farrell. After just 100 days, Supervisor Farrell has spent just about every dollar he had — all but $6.69 of his $2,500 budget. And this is the guy who wants to rewrite city tax law on stock options, which the Examiner pointed out would benefit himself.

“Full Speed Ahead Award” goes to those supervisors who use their office account to pay for Allen’s Press Clippings, which can provide a reservoir of news stories and headlines that just might be useful in a future campaign. Why would we even suggest such a thing? Well, for starters, just three supervisors spent office account money for the news clipping service. They were David Chiu, Bevan Dufty, and Ross Mirkarimi. All three will be on the November ballot seeking another office. Duh.

“Support Your Local Newspaper Award” goes to just three supervisors: Sophie Maxwell, Ross Mirkarimi, David Campos and John Avalos. Three out of 15 (includes outgoing and incoming supes). No wonder the Chronicle is in trouble. It can’t even get city supervisors to subscribe. Not even the ones the paper endorses.

“What’s Black and White and Read All Over Award” goes to those supervisors who subscribe to the out-of-town press (and, by coincidence, only one subscribes to local media). They would be Bevan Dufty (New York Times), Mark Farrell (The Economist and Bloomberg Business – btw, Mark, aren’t those must reading for your job as an investment adviser?, Ross Mirkarimi (New York Times), Sean Elsbernd (Harvard Business Review) and David Campos (New York Times).

“There’s More to Our World Award” goes to those supervisors who used their office account to subscribe to community papers and translation services. John Avalos bought the Spanish translation for Internet Effectiveness. David Chiu subscribes to Sing Tao.  Sophie Maxell subscribed to the Sun Reporter. And that’s it. No one else. Except maybe you could count Sean Elsbernd’s subscription to the San Francisco Business Times.

“Doing My Job Award” goes to the supervisors who spent office money in an effort to be more involved in the people’s work. Eric Mar, for example, paid his registration fee for the National Association of Counties. David Campos paid to attend the Immigrant Rights Conference.  John Avalos outdid everyone with spending for neighborhood and community events in his district, from Community Initiatives meetings, to OMI and Excelsior meetings, to district meetings.

“The Envelope, Please Award” goes to all of them, but we’ll point out that some supervisors only spent on things like envelopes, toner cartridges and the like and didn’t subscribe to any papers, spend on any community meetings, attend any conferences, or do anything but clerical work. They would be Scott Weiner, Michaela Alioto-Pier, Jane Kim, Carmen Chu, and Malia Cohen.

So here’s the view from 30,000 feet of how the supes spent your money, and what they left on the table or still have in their wallet (first number is amount spent, second number is what’s still in the office kitty):

Board President David Chiu

$10,000 budget (Board President twice),  Spent $5,347.57, with $4,652.43 left

Supes with $5,000 budget

Sean Elsbernd spent: $1,131.56; balance left: $3,868.44

Eric Mar Spent: $1,824; balance: $3,176

Carmen Chu Spent: $2,629.45; balance left: $2,370.55

David Campos: Spent: $3,417.95; balance left: $1,582.05

John Avalos Spent: $4,773.62; balance left: $1226.38

Ross Mirkarimi Spent: $3,503.98; balance left: $1,396.02

Supes with $2,500 budget:

Chris Daly Spent: $37.64; balance left to city: $2,192.36

Sophie Maxwell Spent: $737.08; balance left to city: $1762.92

Michela Alioto-Pier Spent $921.24; balance left to city: $1578.76

Bevan Dufty Spent: $1,927.77; balance left to city $572.23

Scott Weiner Spent: $1111.40; balance left: $1388.60

Jane Kim Spent: $1,071.99; balance left $1,428.01

Mark Farrell Spent: $2,493.41; balance left: $6.69

Malia Cohen Spent: $1,932.57; balance left: $567.43







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