'Interim Mayor' Would Earn Three Times More Than 'Acting Mayor'

It's good to be the interim mayor
What's the difference between an "acting mayor" and an "interim" one? About $153,000, to start with.

We've gone over the scenarios confronting the Board of Supervisors in anointing Mayor Gavin Newsom's successor. Here's the rub: If the current board makes up its mind and designates an "interim mayor," that person will serve until November of 2011. But if the supes can't settle on a candidate, Board President David Chiu becomes "acting mayor," and serves until the next mayor is voted into office or the board eventually settles on a replacement.

Both "interim" and "acting" mayors have the same powers: They can make appointments, veto legislation, enforce the right of primæ noctis. But the pay scale ain't the same. Interim mayor earns the same as our regular mayor: $247,825. The acting mayor, who is still president of the board, earns a supe's salary of $94,475.

The disparity between the salary of a supervisor and mayor, incidentally, is the rationale behind forbidding supes to vote for themselves as interim mayor. Essentially, they'd be using their position as a supervisor to enrich themselves on the public dime. This is also why a future Mayor Chiu could not appoint himself district attorney -- should the position open up.

As far as lobbying to be the next mayor, there are rules about that too:

Prohibition. No officer or employee of the City and County shall knowingly vote on or attempt to influence a governmental decision involving his or her own character or conduct, or his or her appointment to any office, position, or employment.

What does this mean? It means that when City Attorney Dennis Herrera told us that he hadn't talked to anyone about his expressed desire to be our interim mayor, he was following the law. And when Sen. Mark Leno told us he had talked to supes about it -- he was following the law, too. As a state official, Leno is allowed to lobby. City employee Herrera -- or any other city worker -- is not.

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