Filner gave staff $86K in raises on way out

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SAN DIEGO – Before leaving office former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner raised the salaries of several staffers by a total of $86,000.

The raises took effect as staff members were being interviewed by the city attorney’s office about the sexual harassment allegations that ultimately drove Filner to resign.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria told Fox 5 he addressed the issue when he took office.

“We looked at this very critically and we made the adjustments to where I think it’s now appropriate and defensible,” said Gloria.

Filner gave his former press secretary, Lena Lewis, the largest raise. He moved her salary from $82,500 to $115,000. Gloria adjusted that salary to $95,000.

Binational affairs manager was given a raise of $15,000 moving the salary up to $85,000. Gloria adjusted the salary back to the original $70,000.

Filner moved his director of appointments and protocol’s salary from $50,000 to $65,000. Gloria adjusted the salary to $60,000.

Filner raised the salaries of three community outreach representatives from $30,000 to $35,000. Gloria decided to allow those employees to keep their raises.

The director of council affairs was given an $8,500 raise by Filner, but that person is no longer employed by the city.

“Some of the pay that we’re talking about here is $35,000 a year,” said Gloria. “These are not people who are getting wealthy at what they do. For the ones that I thought were perhaps excessive or for the ones that were paid beyond what they’re doing, we’ve adjusted those back.”

Gloria commented that the timing of the increases was “curious” given that Filner was resigning from office. Gloria said the adjusted salaries fit into his budget in the Mayor’s office.

“I can say with some confidence now that we have a team in place that’s capable of doing the duties of the mayor’s office at a price the taxpayers can afford,” said Gloria.

Gloria said many of the employees were unable to perform to their highest ability while working under Filner.

“When I came into office what I found was a staff that really wasn’t empowered,” said Gloria. “We had individuals who actually are really great public servants, but were working for someone who really didn’t allow them to do their jobs. What we’ve done now is to pay them appropriately and empower them to do their work and so I think I can stand behind the pay that they’re receiving today because they are actually doing the jobs.”

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