Mayor Ed Lee’s office ‘happy’ with budget agreement, for the most part 

From the outside, the San Francisco city budget deal brought forward in the wee hours of the morning Friday was another chapter of City Hall togetherness in the age of Mayor Ed Lee.

“Mayor Lee is happy that a balanced budget has moved forward and (been) approved by the Board,” Lee’s spokeswoman Christine Falvey said in a statement. “It was a great collaborative process this year and the result of a lot of hard work by many. Cities are struggling with their budgets and in San Francisco we are fortunate to have worked to submit a balanced budget on time.”

But with one of the biggest sticking points, privatizing security at Laguna Honda and General hospitals, SEIU 1021 beat out the Mayor’s Office once again.

Both Mayor Gavin Newsom and now Lee had been trying for years to turn the security jobs at those hospitals over to cheaper contractors, something that needed to be approved by supervisors under Proposition J.

On Thursday, before the budget hearing, four mayoral candidates — Dennis Herrera was listed on a press release from the union but did not show — rallied in support of the SEIU and Deputy Sheriff’s Association positions outside City Hall.

The rally did not sit well with some in the Mayor’s Office who saw a smart plan, that didn’t include layoffs, and could save up to $6 million annually, turn into a political flashpoint.

That political pressure appears to have killed the plan to privatize security. It could possibly be revisited before the full board votes on the budget, but money could also begin growing on trees.

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Brent Begin

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