If there’s anything Berkeley likes to get up in arms about, it’s people getting overpaid.
The Alameda County Grand Jury published a report finding that the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board is a “self-sustaining bureaucracy that operates without effective oversight and accountability.” Ooh so many buzzwords being thrown around, our eyes hurt. Oversight! Accountability! Bureaucracy! Rahhh get riled!
“This rent board pays Jay Kelekian, its director, $183,000 a year to oversee a $4 million budget and manage just 21 employees – which is more than the city Berkeley pays its director of public works, who oversees 326 employees and has a $90 million annual budget, according to the report.”
Hey, you know what? Overseeing rent control is a stressful job. Dealing with bad tenants has even generated a reality TV show in itself called “World’s Worst Tenants.” When was the last time there was a “World’s Worst Public Works” hmm?
Clearly such a high-tension job can only be managed if we pay the director nearly $200,000 a year. It’s just as hard as being the police chief, who gets paid $203,690 a year, is in charge of a $58 million budget and directs a staff of 296 employees.
The city is also in charge of 19,000 rental units in comparison to Oakland’s 58,000 units and San Francisco’s 170,000 units. Damn, Oakland and SF Rent board directors must make bank.
Not everyone agrees with the Grand Jury assessment though. Berkeleyside goes on to note: “We would have welcomed a critical, fact-based analysis of the Rent Board’s charge under the City Charter: the administration of the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance,” Lisa Stephens, the chair of the board wrote in a rebuttal letter. She also said that the $183,000 salary paid to the executive director is similar to that paid in other cities and that the $500 monthly stipend paid to board members has not increased in more than 25 years.”
Clearly Berkeley isn’t the exception.
There we have it folks: you want to make it rain? Get a career in rent stabilization.
Image source: ISD 191 Performing Arts Program under Creative Commons
Tags:alameda county, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, Jay Kelekian
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