By Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle February 22, 2017
Incoming Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick wasn’t the only winner in her $299,675-a-year deal with the city — City Administrator Sabrina Landreth , who helped negotiate the contract, will see an immediate $8,000 bump to her $291,000-a-year pay.
The agreement also paves the way for the city administrator’s pay to go up every time the chief gets a raise. That means Landreth could see a salary bump of about $33,000 over the 2½-year life of Kirkpatrick’s contract.
Chalk up the pay push to the city’s “compaction policy,” which calls for managers to be paid more than the workers they manage.
“It is general practice in both the public and private sectors for a salary or classification system to require an increase in pay with each higher level of responsibility in a chain of command,” said Oakland public information officer Harry Hamilton.
And since Landreth — along with the mayor and the city’s new Police Commission — oversees the police chief, she comes under the compaction rule, and her pay goes up with every raise the new chief earns.
City Councilman Noel Gallo said some council members had “serious reservations” about both the chief’s pay and the city administrator’s connected salary increase.
“I was hoping to see some kind of (national) salary survey that compared the chief’s pay to what other similar-size cities are paying” to justify the raises, Gallo said.
Kirkpatrick’s pay was negotiated by Landreth, Mayor Libby Schaaf and the recruiter the city hired to find a new chief last year. The salary was based on what nearby cities pay their top cops — including San Francisco, where newly hired Police Chief William Scott pulls down about $316,000 a year.
The city also took education and experience into consideration.
The new Oakland chief’s contract also includes $5,000 for moving expenses. Kirkpatrick was working in Chicago when Schaaf tapped her last month to run the Oakland Police Department.
In the end, Gallo said he voted for the deal because, given that it’s been eight months since the city had a permanent chief to oversee a troubled Police Department, voting “no” would have sent the “wrong message.”
Landreth’s first raise — which will bring her salary to $1 more than the chief’s — will kick in with Kirkpatrick’s expected arrival Monday.
Even with the pay boost, Schaaf tells us Landreth “still won’t be even in the top 20 highest-paid city administrators in California who run smaller and far less complicated cities. Believe me, she earns every penny.”
Landreth did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Kirkpatrick will be Oakland’s sixth full-time chief since 2009. The rapid turnover rate has made it difficult for Schaaf and her predecessors to maintain stability in a department beset by layoffs, low morale and continued federal court oversight stemming from a case in the early 2000s in which a group of officers was accused of beating West Oakland residents and planting evidence.
Last year, just when the previous police chief, Sean Whent, seemed to be making progress, the department was engulfed in a scandal in which several officers allegedly had sex with an underage girl and gave her money and information about upcoming vice raids. Whent resigned, and two acting chiefs lasted only a few days on the job.
San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Matier can be seen on the KPIX TV morning and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS radio Monday through Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call (415) 777-8815, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @matierandross