Two Daly City officials' benefits increased amid budget woes 

Despite community objections, Daly City elected officials approved a resolution to extend severance pay for the city manager and city attorney by an amount equivalent to an additional six months’ salary if fired without cause.

Councilman Dave Canepa, the lone dissenting vote in a 4-1 decision, told The Examiner he could not justify an additional benefit to the two officials.

Daly City cut $5 million from its $72 million operating budget this year.

“Based on the economic situation, it’s absolutely atrocious,” he said. “Our employees being furloughed, we’re making cutbacks and some are losing their jobs. How can I in good ­conscience support someone getting a benefit?”

City Manager Pat Martel and City Attorney Rose Zimmerman both have contracts that will allow them a 12-month severance package if they are dismissed without cause. The additional six months were offered in lieu of a salary increase.

Mayor Mike Guingona said during the Monday night meeting that neither Martel nor Zimmerman requested the increase.

He said the chances of either person being let go without cause are slim.

“This is a no-cost item that we could actually do,” he said during the meeting.

For the 2009 year, Martel made nearly $263,000 while Zimmerman took home an estimated $210,000, according to Daly City’s Human Resources Office.

Discussion of the issue lasted more than an hour at the regular council meeting, with many community members opposing the decision.

Nadia Bledsoe — spokeswoman for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — said it’s unfair that Daly City workers have been asked to take unpaid leave to help with the budget crisis while the two city officials were offered additional benefits.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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