Long Beach City Manager Thomas B. Modica announced last week that he will be donating a portion of his salary increase to combat homelessness in the city.
Modica was hired at a base salary of $290,656.00 in 2020. His employment contract called for automatic adjustments on July 1, 2021 and on July 15 of each year thereafter, equivalent to the most recent change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For a decade, CPI hovered around 2.1%. Due to inflation, however, CPI hit 6.57% last year and 4.96% this year.
That’s a lot higher than the increase for most Long Beach employees, whose contracts were negotiated at the start of the pandemic. To Modica, that feels unfair.
The city manager wrote the following in a memo to the mayor and city council on Wednesday:
As the City’s designated labor negotiator and chief executive, I do not feel it is appropriate to receive a 4.96 percent CPI increase while most of our employees received a 2 percent increase this year. I do not feel I should receive that benefit when we are not in the fiscal position to offer similar compensation to the rest of our workforce.
As a result, I will donate any post-tax amount over the 2 percent received by the rest of the organization to the City’s non-profit for addressing homelessness. The projected annual donation amounts from 2022 and 2023 contract years are $15,526 cumulatively. This decision was reached after exploring several options to not accept the increase, similar to last year. Based on the advice of the City Attorney, the best available solution to achieve the goal of not benefiting from the salary increase is to donate in the increase. As the City continues to receive more investment to support community members experiencing homelessness, I’m glad that I can make this donation that will have a direct impact on individuals in our community who need help the most at this time in their lives.
This is not the first time Modica has made such a generous decision. He also donated a portion of his increase to the city’s homeless non-profit last year.
A previous version of this article contained a typo in the spelling of Thomas Modica's last name.