SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been drawing his full monthly salary despite asking state workers in May to take a pay cut to alleviate the state’s burden in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Though elected state officials are exempt from such pay cuts, Newsom pledged that he would voluntarily slash his salary when he asked state workers to make that same sacrifice.
But a Thursday report from the Sacramento Bee revealed that Newsom has continued drawing his full monthly salary of $17,479.
A spokesman for Newsom's office blamed the matter on an "administrative error."
"The Governor publicly committed to taking the same pay cut as other state workers when he introduced his budget in May and has officially asked the Controller to adjust his pay, effective July 1," he said. "The reductions for both July and August will be deduced for the next pay period."
Sacramento’s KOVR also reported that PlumpJack, a Northern California-based winery and hospitality company, founded and partly owned by Newsom, was open through early July – well after Newsom ordered all essential business closed in March.
Data released by the U.S. Treasury Department also shows that the wine company also received a loan worth $150,000 to $350,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program.
Data from the State Controller’s office shows that State Controller Betty Yee was the only one of California’s eight elected constitutional officers to take a pay cut last month, The Bee reported.
The allegation against Newsom is the latest episode in a series of missteps this summer that have cast his administration in a less than favorable light. Earlier this month, Newsom’s handling of a resurgence of cases in the state was blamed on a data error that caused a backlog of nearly 300,000 virus test results.
"The buck stops with me, I'm accountable," he said at a tense news conference, his first appearance since state officials revealed the error. "No one's trying to hide that, no one's trying to mask that, we're owning that, we're moving forward to address those issues."
His tone was noticeably different than it was in March, when California's public battle with the virus began and the state initially avoided the worst outcomes. In commanding news conferences held almost daily, he announced the country's first statewide stay-at-home order and won mostly adherence from the state's 40 million residents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.