Horsley Won't Take a Supervisor Salary After All

'I made a commitment to forego the salary, and I will keep that commitment.'

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Don Horsley - just sworn in as president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors this past week - has issued a statement indicating he has decided to forego a salary after all.

Previously, after indicating he would forego the $120,000-per-year supervisor salary during his campaign for election, and then going without pay for two years, Horsley announced recently that his family's financial situation had changed and he would begin collecting the salary this year, on top of the $215,000-per-year pension he receives as the county's former sheriff.

The decision met with a bit of an outcry from county voters, some of whom said they felt cheated since his decision to forego the salary was part of the reason they voted for him. Some even suggested he should be recalled for going back on his campaign promise.

The San Jose Mercury News quoted parts of Horsley's statement Saturday.

"I made a commitment to forgo the salary, and I will keep that commitment," the statement said.

The Mercury said Horsley was refusing interviews, and would not comment on what made him change his mind about taking the salary.

What do you think of Horsley's change of heart? Tell us in the comments.

Mark Taylor January 12, 2013 at 05:14 PM
A wise decision. The controversy was doing him no good. The real problem is double-dipping–working one government job for a number of years and then retiring to work on yet another government job. Horsely is receiving $215,000 in retirement pay and his new title gets him $120,000 (with pension benefits there too, I think) This is why the system really needs serious fixing.
Darwin Patnode January 12, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Too little, too late. We now know that he is not a man of his word and that his rental price is $120,000. He is so out of touch with the financial reality of local residents that he referred to himself as not being rich despite his $215,000 pension, not to mention other assets and income. Obama, a member of his own party, would consider him almost a millionaire. Small wonder that he favored a sales tax increase on local residents for "essential services" like salary increases for the county manager and himself. Shame on him. His greed and hypocrisy are neitehr forgotten nor gone.
Pacifica Truth Police January 13, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Not so fast. It has come to our attention that Mr. Horsley is definitely planning on cashing his full paycheck as county supervisor and that this entire episode has been just one, giant-sized misunderstanding. According to Horsley senior staffers, Horsley's actual campaign promise was: "If I am elected, I will forgo my celery." Evidently the Horsley campaign believed this to be a significant sacrifice since Horsely had a huge penchant for snacks consisting of peanut butter stuffed celery stalks.
Laura Whittaker January 13, 2013 at 06:37 AM
UMMMMM did his Mother in laws medical issues change all of a sudden? Liar! Very sad that this one honorable and respected County Sheriff has to end his political career as someone who has done nothing for anyone but himself and his union supporters, a liar and totally out of touch with his community. I hope he just goes away before he embarrasses himself and family any more.
Michael G. Stogner January 13, 2013 at 10:03 PM
At 4:16 pm last Friday I received an email from Chris Hunter titled "For Your Consideration." It was Supervisor Don Horsley's official comment which has been published. This was in response to my email to Supervisor Don Horsley, titled "And there lies the problem." Giving him 30 days to reverse his decision. Wonderful outcome.
Andrew Peceimer January 13, 2013 at 11:14 PM
215K a year pension at a 4% return is equivlaent to an approximate 5 million dollar 401K retirement plan in the private sector. His retirement salary and benefits are an example of why most cities are headed towards bankruptcy. Anyone wonder why San Jose had to cut the number of police on the street? It is due to pensions like Horsley's. Wake up al you Obama supporters!!!!!!!!!! The system is unstainable.
Mark Taylor January 13, 2013 at 11:34 PM
A very long time ago, going to work for government meant trading wealth for job security. You were never going to get the salary of a Fortune 500 ceo but you would get job security and a decent pension. Now it has completely changed so that workers get as much as high paid corporate executives and large pensions. Then there is double dipping: getting more than one pension because you termed out one job and then got another or draw a salary while on a very nice pension. It is one reason why cities are going bankrupt. Funding pensions have become a huge deficit in many budgets.
Lionel Emde January 14, 2013 at 01:27 AM
I compliment Mr. Horsely on his wise decision to reverse course and keep his campaign promise. It will come in handy at the next election, presuming he runs again, as it takes away a surefire campaign issue for his challengers. But activists like Mr. Stogner deserve credit for reminding the powerful that they are not invulnerable in a democracy. Celery, indeed!
Dan Oates January 14, 2013 at 04:19 PM
I respect my former boss for his decision, I suspect it was not an easy one. I doubt much has changed in his family situation but I suspect it soon will. He is a thoughtful and careful elected official and always has been. He listens to the council of others before rendering his decision. I do think it unfortunate that some activists take public credit for his final decision. I worked for Supervisor Horsley for twenty-five years. I did not always agree with him but I did and still do respect him, nothing has changed.
Chris Porter January 14, 2013 at 05:21 PM
I don't understand everyone's outrage about Don Horsley's possible two pensions. I worked for one Company for fifteen years and received my pension when I left to work for Coastside. I rolled that money over and it has stayed put for the last almost thirty years. When Recology bought Coastside, I rolled the Coastside pension over and I am now in the Recology pension fund. In all three accounts, I added a personal percentage of my earnings to what the Companies were offering so when I retire I will receive payments from three pensions. I do not call this double dipping but sound financial management.
Andrew Peceimer January 14, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Chris, how much is your pension and how much did you put into it? Was it guaranteed if your investments went broke? I bet you do not understand why Defined Benefits are causing financial problems.
Michael G. Stogner January 14, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Dan, I appreciate your loyalty to both Don and Blue. I have been a Victim's Advocate in San Mateo County for 12 years now and know first hand what damage broken promise cause. I know for a fact that I sent Him an email asking him to reconsider and reverse this bad decision. My question for you is did you contact Don Horsley in any way (email, phone, letter, bump into him on the street) to encourage him to do the right thing. To this day we don't know what made him change his mind, he refuses to talk to reporters at least 3 have tried to talk to him. He is not talking.
Alana Gomez January 14, 2013 at 07:33 PM
I can't get over the pension for his previous job(200K?). Thats an outrage! A public servant? Whats the world coming to? Something should be done about that. How are they saving us taxpayers money? I'm paying more than ever, more sales tax for this and more for that. Guess that means 100K pensions for public servants whose job is to hold countless meetings.
Palomar Parkman January 14, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Chris, multiple pensions is not the issue, it is receiving a salary from the county and a pension at the same time.
Michael G. Stogner January 14, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Fact Check: In a Jan. 19, 2009, press release, 18 months before the June 2010 primary election, San Bruno-based political consultant Ed McGovern leads with this statement attributed to Mr. Horsley: "As a former San Mateo County Sheriff and county employee, I am 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. Therefore, if elected, I will forgo my salary and benefits so that the money may be used for other County needs." For me this is about keeping an election campaign promise that nobody asked Don Horsley to make in the first place. It is not about pensions or double dipping. It's about being honest.
Pat McCarty January 14, 2013 at 09:52 PM
The Federal government has regulations against Federal retirees receiving more than one pension from the government. It also has pension caps for 'mortal' civil servants. It also penalizes a Federal retiree's Social Security payment to prevent 'double dipping' from the Federal government. Why should not local, county and state governments have similar legislation to protect taxpayers and the economy? People like Horsley are only motivated by their own greed, and desire to be 'big shots'. They don't care one iota about the lives of their constituents. And, just because something is not illegal does not make it ethical. It's a poor excuse, but one used too often.
Andrew Peceimer January 15, 2013 at 02:20 AM
The facts are that most people do not have the time or desire to watch where their tax money is being spent. If most people had that information they would not vote Democratic and would be concerned of Obama's wreckless spending. Anyone can call or email their city manager and request a list of all city workers salaries. It is required by law that the informaiton is sent to you. Some of the salaries are reasonable and some are not in my opinion. It is the guaranteed pensiosn with no risk that concerns me most. I encourage you all to follow the money!
Dan Oates January 15, 2013 at 07:23 AM
No Michael, I have not seen him or contacted in any way regarding this matter I no longer live in the area. This was only an observation based on years of working for the man. Thank you for asking, it was a considerate response to my comment.
CP January 18, 2013 at 07:13 AM
Kudos to all of those citizens, and the press, for keeping the pressure on until Supervisor Horsley kept his campaign promise. Thank you!!
Palomar Parkman January 18, 2013 at 02:47 PM
But Horsley did take $18K+ in salary that started drawing a salary last year before he even announced his intent to do so. I've seen nothing that has stated he has given that money back! As a county with a population almost as large as San Francisco (or Alaska) we deserve better government than this.
Michael G. Stogner January 18, 2013 at 04:25 PM
I am confident Supervisor Horsley will do the right thing regarding his taking $18,616.32 of county funds. He currently is in a Lock Down mode of no comment on this subject. He is refusing to speak to any reporter and if you look carefully you will see he didn't make the comment on the 11th. Chris Hunter did. A reporter tried to confirm his own statement of long term medical care for a relative as his excuse for breaking his promise. He told the reporter that subject was personal, he added "I have a mother in law, I have paid for medications." I'm not sure that equals long term medical care.
CP January 18, 2013 at 07:26 PM
re: Palomar Parkman's comment: "We deserve better", yes, I agree. Why are the Supervisors so afraid of Pine's proposal for a "Whistleblower award fund"? Makes you wonder. The benefit to the public is high vs. cost, and cost is small relative to total budget (unless there is soooooo much bad stuff going on that we are afraid we will go bankrupt paying whistleblowers!).


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something