Solution to SFPD money problems may lay framework for future
By Elizabeth Pfeffer
June 16, 2006
The San Francisco Police Department's budget woes brought about
by overspending on overtime can be remedied at least temporarily,
Deputy Controller Monique Zmuda reported to the Budget and Finance
By transferring $300,000 in unspent academy training funds and
$625,000 of the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant - which is
still pending approval - to salary expenditures, it's likely the
police department will be able to complete the fiscal year in
July with a balanced budget.
"We are going on the assumption now that those salaries
can be applied to those grant funds," Zmuda warned the committee.
"If that should change over the next number of weeks, that
is if Homeland Security fails to approve that request, or if for
some reason it cannot be done, then we will have to come back
to the committee."
This solution was presented as an alternative to a piece of legislation
introduced by Fiona Ma last month, to provide the police department
with $2.8 million to fund overtime and increase police presence
in crime hotspots.
The reason the supplemental appropriation has not been heard
by the committee yet is because the Controller had to freeze operating
spending at the police department in an effort to balance their
"It is entirely possible, Supervisors, that by year end
they will have bills to pay and no funds from which to pay them
and that liability will be transferred to next fiscal year,"
said Zmuda, in response to an assertion by Board President Aaron
Peskin that the police department could survive without an additional
The Controller's office is bearing the responsibility of handling
this problem while the police department continues their search
for a chief financial officer, which, according to Supervisor
Peskin, "they so sorely lack."
"In some instances we have had a couple of candidates who
have been offered the position and after negotiation the candidate
had in fact withdrawn their application," said Zmuda, who
has been involved with CFO recruitments over the past year. "The
last recruitment that was completed about 6-8 weeks ago did identify
two or three potential candidates, none of whom were acceptable
to the police chief or her staff."
The police department refused to reply to several attempts to
contact them on this matter and on the budget deficit.