OCEANSIDE — A councilmember is giving his salary back to the city in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councilman Chris Rodriguez announced that he was forfeiting his salary at the end of March.
Council members are elected officials and considered part-time employees. The annual salary of a council member in Oceanside is $33,993 according to city records, with members receiving about $2,832.75 per month.
Rodriguez said that he is forfeiting his salary until further notice. He explained that the easiest way for him and the city to do this, is for him to continue receiving the payments but then sending back a check in the amount he receives to the city, which will go into the general fund.
Rodriguez made the decision to forfeit his salary as a way to show he stands with the businesses and residents who aren’t making any income at this time.
“I’ve talked to so many local residents and businesses and they have zero coming in,” Rodriguez said. “Hearing all these stories, I felt really guilty… I want to give back and stand with them.”
Rodriguez said he is “blessed” with his career as a real estate agent and didn’t feel right taking money from the city. He added that although it isn’t much, his salary could help with costs such as paying for meals as the city received approved $400,000 to cover meals for residents over the next six weeks.
“It’s little but it’s still something,” he said.
The real story, Rodriguez said, is how the city has partnered with local businesses to get through the financial crisis stemming from the public health crisis. He also noted the potential $3 million relief fund for small businesses that staff is currently working on as another way the city is trying to help its businesses stay afloat.
“I’m proud of Oceanside,” Rodriguez said. “We’re gonna get through this.”