MTA budget funding Mayor’s Office? (UPDATED)

The Chronicle and Examiner report today that up to seven positions in the Mayor’s Office are actually being funded by the Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, DPT, and soon the Taxi Commission. Some of these positions are focused on transportation, including former MTA deputy director Stuart Sunshine, but others seem very loosely related to transportation (e.g. the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, and a deputy press secretary). The total cost to the MTA is $655K, according to the Mayor’s Office.

It’s not unusual for the MTA to contract with other departments for service – in fact, this was envisioned in Proposition E which created the MTA in 1999. However, this does seem odd. When the MTA is facing a long-term structural deficit and just got an infusion of cash from Proposition A to improve service and prevent service cuts, is this the best use of the MTA’s money? It’s something for the current members of and nominees for the MTA board to consider, since the MTA’s budget is approved by the MTA board and then just subject to veto by the Supervisors. The budget for the next fiscal year is being discussed by the CAC finance committee and the MTA Board next week.

(The N Judah Chronicles has a take on this as well.)

Update: SF Usual Suspects links to all the latest on this one.