Morro Bay City Council members forgo pay amid financial crisis

April 7, 2020

Morro Bay City Council members have decided to forgo receiving their stipends for the remainder of 2020 and possibly the first half of 2021, as the city grapples with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak response.

Additionally, Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins and all of his department heads have voluntarily agreed to slash their pay, up to 8 percent each. The city announced the initial moves to reduce staffing costs as part of Morro Bay’s financial recovery plan, dubbed “Rock Solid Together.”

Other elements of the plan include a review of city operations; an immediate freeze on hiring and non-essential travel; making use of the city’s reserves; and seeking state and federal funds.

In attempt to aid businesses, the council has approved deferring transient occupancy tax payments and waiving penalties for late payments for tidelands leases. Morro Bay officials say they are preparing for the worst-case scenario since the city has a tourist-driven economy.

“Our community, business owners and their employees, and the city organization have made significant personal and economic sacrifices to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor John Headding said. “Those social distancing efforts, while disruptive and damaging economically, will save lives. We must also work together through the economic and financial recovery. In that spirit, my fellow city council members and myself will forgo our stipends for the remainder of this year and will assess waiving the entire next fiscal year soon.”

Collins said there will be a long and difficult road to recovery.

“The road to recovery will be difficult and long,” Collins said. “But we are committed to do what is necessary as a united city team to ensure we continue to put the health and safety of our community first, continue to provide essential city services and resources to our most vulnerable residents. Rock solid together.”


We would love to see the self-serving mayor of SLO and her council of minions follow suit.

Nick Doyle

Sure, it’s a token amount, but it’s a first step in the right direction. Morro Bay’s city employees should follow the example and take a 10% pay cut until all businesses in the city are allowed to open up.

The council and staff of San Luis Obispo should do the same and show solidarity with all the employees and small businesses in the city that have suffered under Governor Newsom’s and the county’s directives.


These givebacks while laudable, are tiny and they pale in comparison to the waste of not rehabilitating the working sewer plant and save a cool 120 million. Bus half the town to a Coastal Commission meeting and the CCC will yield to upgrading the existing plant, at the existing site, and the costs of breaching the unwise contracts already signed will also cost way less than completion of this nut job sewer mega-spend.

Yes it’s a tiring repetition, but we’re talking reversing a municipally-insane sewer boondoggle here, not just a few laudable percent savings on salaries.


I was thinking along those same lines here this morning, they have already started the lay down yard right next to the old folks home, I’m sure that is going over real nice.

Niles Q

Yeah! Taxpayers will be saved $800 a month for council and $1,200 for hiz honor, the mayor.

Coronavirus now has a brand – Rock Solid Together! Which consultant coined that catchy little ditty?


Good move in the right direction. Thank you

Jorge Estrada

Discontinuing non-essential travel? Now that’s a new concept like stop wasting money on food, lodging and travel when most screen shots are being done at home these days. Most companies do their regulatory training and staff meetings online too. Sure it’s head swelling to get all suited up and strut around on other turf but that luxury is over, good bye to the travel club. Thank you Morro Bay for setting a good example.


How about the rest of the city’s and CSD’s follow suit?

At the very least give back the recent raises.


The city council in Arroyo Grande should certainly revoke their new ridiculous raises……but something tells me Mayor Ray won’t unless forced too.


@kayaknut, good point, but I think while they voted themselves a raise led Mayor Ray, the council decided to defer until later this year or next year to start receiving it. However, the pandemic fallout on the AG economy will be around for a LONG time and they should withdraw their vote on this. SLO as well. With the Mindbody lay-offs (as an example) and the fallout from the economy, every municipality around here will be scratching for money (and oh yes, contributions to their pension funds will take place no matter what).