Almanac

News - January 16, 2013

Horsley reverses, will forgo supes salary

by Dave Boyce

Supervisor Don Horsley has announced that he has changed his mind and would resume his two-year practice of not taking a salary for the remaining two years of his four-year term on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Horsley, a former county sheriff who receives $215,000 annually from his pension plan after 35 years in county government, issued a statement on Jan. 11. "I made a commitment to forgo the salary and I will keep that commitment," he said.

He had announced late in 2012 that he would begin collecting his $120,000 salary, citing as justification a healthier local economy than when he was elected.

Mr. Horsley won election in November 2010 and represents Atherton, Portola Valley, Woodside and several nearby unincorporated communities. He has not yet responded to an interview request.

The decision not to take his full salary effectively renews a pre-election pledge made in a January 2009 press release in which Mr. Horsley says that he is "fortunate that I receive an excellent package of benefits, and believe the compensation I would be awarded as a County Supervisor would be better spent elsewhere."

When asked recently to comment on this statement, Mr. Horsley said he did not remember making it, but told the Almanac that the county in 2009 had a structural deficit, which "put us in an austerity position. ... The overall economy of San Mateo County is not what it was three years ago."

Recent figures from the county budget director bear out Mr. Horsley's view of the health of the local economy, but his announcement to take his full salary did not go over well with some voters. Michael G. Stogner, a frequent critic of county government, said in the Almanac's online forum that he would initiate a recall election if Mr. Horsley did not recommit to his 2009 pledge.

Comments

Posted by Thomas, a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Mr. Horsley owes the voters and taxpayers of San Mateo County $18,616.32, do the right thing, write the check, pay your debt.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Is it possible that Mr. Horsley does not owe this money? It's his salary and he did nothing illegal to start collecting it. He crossed a line ethically, perhaps, by going back on a promise, but think about that promise.

Yes, he had his eye on the election and the promise may have been significant in getting him elected, but it may not have. He was the establishment candidate, the candidate with the money and the connections, the odds-on favorite.

And for two years, he's been working for essentially nothing. Yes, he has a big pension. If he is cut, does he not bleed? Think about working for nothing, about working week after week, long days, getting in and out of the car, and having a $120,000 that you're not collecting. I can see room for regret, and cause for ill-considered moves after two years of that.

He has recommitted, and I think demanding that he repay that $18,600 is just piling on. He made a mistake. Let's move on. Jesus. He's a human being. Give him a break.


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Thomas obviously has some sort of agenda.

What Joe said was true - what Mr. Horsley did was unethical, not illegal. Repayment is not required.

But the point that Joe made about Mr. Horsley "working for essentially nothing," falls on my deaf ears. That was Mr. Horsley's campaign promise, not mine. That was his offer, we accepted.

Again, this issue is all about integrity and honoring a promise, not the worth of a Supervisor's job.


Posted by Michael G.Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I am confident Don Horsley will do the right thing. He leads by example, give him some time to make the right choice.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Yep, time to move on. I sure don't expect him to repay the $$. Our country isn't broke. What he broke was his own word & he recommitted.


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