On Thursday, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Board of Directors will host its monthly board meeting to discuss various projects and issues related to the MTS. While most of the meeting agenda appears to be the standard bureaucratic discussions that are most useful as a sleeping aid, there’s something rather nefarious and deeply concerning on the agenda too.
Buried all the way on page 113 of the 286-page report is a proposed pay raise for MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski. The proposition states:
“The CEO’s current salary is $390,114 plus contractual fringe benefits. No increase to base salary is proposed for calendar year 2020. The total discretionary bonus awarded for 2019 performance would be $36,000. The proposed compensation package would result in a net increase of the CEO’s compensation package over 2019 of $12,000. Because of increases in MTS’s overall healthcare insurance costs for 2020, the total increased value of the CEO’s 2020 compensation package compared to 2019 would be $13,344.”
This is absurd because Jablonski already has an annual compensation package of $520,145, including an astonishing $117,095 in benefits. Over half a million dollars for a bureaucrat to run a public transportation system that serves a tiny fraction of San Diegans.
The timing is also notable given that Jablonski was given a $12,556 raise in 2017 along with a $24,000 bonus. These increases corresponded with decreased revenue for MTS as ridership declined for several consecutive years. Although it was recently reported that ridership increased three percent in the second half of 2019, this increase is still over eight percent lower than the ridership peak in 2015.
While technocrats like SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata and MTS Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher seek to force lifestyle transformation on San Diegans, more and more goes into the wallets of bureaucrats who are entirely unaccountable to taxpayers. Whether it’s MTS’s $10 million budget deficit, $900,000 “clean energy” buses, or $90 million bike lane expansions, it’s clear that enough taxpayer money has gone down the bureaucratic drain. Rather than accept responsibility and apologize to San Diegans, Nathan Fletcher and the MTS Board will continue to exploit funds to pursue their technocratic dreams.
Photo by Josh Esh
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Jablonski’s $36,000 bonus would be in addition to a $13,344 salary increase.