S.F. Taxpayers Shell Out Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars a Year to Disgraced City Officials. This Plan Would End That

In the wake of a corruption scandal that ensnared some of San Francisco’s highest level officials, two city supervisors want to make sure those officials don’t keep receiving fat pension checks when they retire.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced a charter amendment trying to get on the Nov. 8 ballot that would make former city employees forfeit their pension after a finding of “clear and convincing evidence” from an administrative hearing held by the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System that they committed bribery, embezzlement, extortion, or wire fraud in connection with their city work, or committed perjury trying to conceal a crime.

With few exceptions, San Francisco city workers cannot currently lose their pensions unless they’re convicted of and sentenced for a crime of “moral turpitude,” which doesn’t have a clear legal definition.

The measure is not-so-subtly aimed at specific officials who’ve pleaded guilty or been charged with corruption over the past two years, but still get checks from the city every month.

As of last summer, Mohammed Nuru, the former Public Works director who pled guilty to accepting bribes from contractors, collects $7,200 a month. Tom Hui, the ex-Department of Building Inspection chief who resigned amid accusations of giving preferential treatment to a contractor in exchange for gifts, gets nearly $16,000. And Harlan Kelly, the former Public Utilities Commission head accused of trading insider information on city contracts for overseas trips and jewelry, rakes in about $21,000 a month.

It’s not clear if all three would be subject to the charter amendment if it makes the ballot and is passed.

Peskin wasn’t available for comment before deadline, but told Mission Local earlier this year that officials who “do all the kind of things that make everyone barf in their mouth about government” were just getting lucrative retirements.

Pensions are significant, since labor costs take up a majority of San Francisco’s $14 billion budget. The measure matters as the city’s widespread corruption scandal, which began in early 2020, drags on, and there’s a possibility that more high-level heads could still roll.

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle

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