Everything But the Oink
Low level pork is a perk

Every month, the supes reimburse City employees for damaged and stolen personal items. The Controller sometimes reduces the more outrageous claims, but Mr. Harrington allows most claims to pass through the system unquestioned. For instance, building inspectors are routinely reimbursed for buying replacements for expensive trousers torn on protruding nails at construction sites; and items such as Italian leather shoes, muddied in the course of duty.

Below are a few of the claims approved by the supes in Nov. 1997. While the amounts are relatively small compared to the billion or so dollars of slush in the City's budget, their very existence demonstrates the disregard in which City government holds our purse.

Tracey Ireland - Physical Therapist

Incident: Shattered rear window. Auto damaged while employee on work assignment.

Claim: $1,523.50

Controller: Approve $500.00 - Limit claim amount to uninsured portion of damage.

SFI: Did Ms. Ireland actually believe that the taxpayer should pay the whole cost for her broken rear window even though her insurance company covered the cost, after a $500 deductible? The California False Claims Act provides for fraudulent claims on public funds to be punished by a year in State prison and a $10,000 fine.

Patricia Dunson - Parking Control Officer

Incident: Personal items stolen from vehicle while issuing citations.

Claim: $125 - for AM/FM clock radio ($10); 35 mm camera ($100); Flashlight ($15)

Controller: $10. Limit loss to items necessary in performance of duties.

SFI: How far from her vehicle did Ms. Dunson stroll in performance of her duties? Parking & Traffic Department regulations do not allow officers to leave their vehicles unattended. Perhaps she was just getting coffee or a donut?

Melinda Mills - Director, Probation Services

Incident: Auto tire damaged in Youth Guidance Center Parking lot.

Claim: $94.92

Controller: Approve $94.92. Employee frequently uses auto in performance of duties and damage occurred through no fault of employee.

SFI: Employees who use their own vehicles are reimbursed regularly at a mileage rate that covers all wear and tear. There are no City regs that speak to reimbursement on the basis of an incident being an employee's "fault" or not.

Heidi Machen - Supes Legislative Assistant

Incident: Bicycle and related items stolen while attending CCSF meeting.


Bicycle $292.94

Helmet 32.54

Water bottle & holder 11.00

Electronic speedometer 30.00

Cable, padlock, bell, rear rack 61.00

Total: $427.48

Controller. Approve. Damage occurred during performance of duties through no fault of employee.

SFI: Well. If "fault" is to be a factor: perhaps Ms. Machen should have used her padlock and locked her bike in a secure area. The City Charter does not provide for subsidizing the careless personal habits of our public servants.

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