MTA chief agrees to cut in salary 

As Muni debates cutting service and raising prices again to close a $16.9 million midyear deficit, Municipal Transportation Agency director Nat Ford has voluntarily agreed to take a pay cut and defer performance incentives, the second time in two years he’s signed off on a measure to limit his earnings.

Set to earn a base salary of $315,140 this fiscal year — which makes him one of the highest-paid employees in The City — Ford will cut his pay by 2 percent, to $308,837, a move that will save $6,303 for the cash-strapped MTA.

The executive director, who was hired by the agency in 2005, also agreed to defer his incentive compensation for the past fiscal year, which would have amounted to $21,015, according to MTA documents.

In December 2008, Ford rejected a raise to his salary which would have increased his annual pay to $328,375. He also deferred an incentive compensation package that would have paid him an additional $26,787.

In November, the MTA, which operates Muni, announced it was facing a mid-year shortfall of $45.1 million. The agency has already approved a series of cost-saving measures, including the elimination of 250 positions, to whittle the deficit down to $16.9 million.

On Tuesday, MTA staff will present further proposals to offset the $16.9 million, including reductions in bus operating hours, increases to discounted Fast Pass fares, and a series of labor concessions.

The agency also recently implemented increases to its regular Fast Pass fares, raised the cost of parking ticket citations, and reorganized service on its transit system, which included the elimination of six bus lines — and is debating increases again.

“For the past few years we’ve asked our riders to make sacrifices on our transit lines, and our automobile users to pay more for citations,” said Ford. “In fact, almost everyone in The City has been impacted by this economy, so I think its only fitting that I also participate by making a sacrifice. Hopefully this will benefit our budget and ultimately the riders that use our
service.”

Ford’s salary decrease and incentive deferral must be amended into his contract. On Tuesday, the MTA’s Board of Directors will vote on the proposals.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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