The Board of Supervisors' Budget and Finance Committee wrapped up its negotiations regarding San Francisco's proposed $8.6 billion spending plan in record time Wednesday night. While negotiations were definitely less contentious than they have been in years past, there was one hot spot: the San Francisco Arts Commission's request for 48 office chairs at a whopping $919 each. No, that isn't a typo.
KCBS reports that at the budget meeting on Wednesday night, SF's tenacious budget analyst Harvey Rose went after the luxurious line item, saying that the Arts Commission asked for "48 office chairs at $919 per chair for a total of $44,112."
"Similar high quality supportive chairs," the thrifty Rose pointed out, "were $250 to $400 less in Staples.com."
When an Arts Commission rep was called to the carpet to explain the high-end demand, things got tense.
"We don't go to Staples for chairs because these things fall apart almost immediately," she said. "There's a quality issue."
Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents some of the toniest parts of San Francisco, was nonetheless aghast at this response. “I have a tough time accepting that because I have a Staples chair. I’ve had it for three years and it’s just fine,” Farrell said.
Farrell's response might have shut up the Arts Commission for good, as a call from SFist to its spokesperson to get more details on the fancy furniture was not responded to at publication time.
In any case, it looks like the Arts folks will be getting a design that's a little more within reach: The budget committee halved its request for dough, putting the rest of the funding on hold for now.
Next for the city's budget: The full Board of Supes will vote on the proposal at its July 15 meeting. After two votes from the Board (both expected before July 31), the mayor will sign-off on the final spending plan, presumably from a reasonably-priced chair.