"It's a question of excess," he said, noting the city is in such dire financial straits that, as SF Weekly broke Monday, the controller's office has rescinded its certification of any spending that hasn't already been budgeted (in a nutshell, the city can't spend any money without cutting the budget or adding revenue).
The Board of Supervisors can't tell other departments how to spend their money or who to hire and fire -- as illustrated when the supes overstepped their bounds by stripping funds from ACT and the opera this summer. But they could, theoretically, cut the amount of Ballard's salary from the mayor's press office and send the message that way.
It remains to be seen how the mayor's office would handle such a move, if it came to pass. But, in the interest of perspective, the city is facing a $53.1 million shortfall. And cutting Ballard's job after he leaves would neatly account for that $0.1 million.