San Diego moves toward changing redevelopment agencies’ oversight
The San Diego City Council on Tuesday tentatively approved a series of measures intended to strengthen the oversight and operation of San Diego’s two redevelopment agencies.
The most notable change gives the mayor and City Council more authority over the hiring and firing of the chief executive officers for the Centre City Development Corp. and Southeastern Economic Development Corp.
If the changes are ultimately adopted, a five-member selection committee would recommend three candidates to the mayor for the appointment, which would then be subject to the approval of the City Council. The mayor would also get the authority to fire a chief executive officer and the City Council could appeal.
Other recommendations include expanding the number of board members for the CCDC and SEDC; imposing regular audits of the agencies; requiring performance reviews; and giving the city more access to documents and records.
The changes come in the wake of scandals involving the heads of both the CCDC and SEDC.
Nancy Graham resigned as chief executive officer of CCDC last year after coming under scrutiny over an alleged conflict-of-interest with a developer looking to build a skyscraper in downtown San Diego.
Around the same time, it was learned that Carolyn Smith, the former president of SEDC, awarded herself and other agency executives bonuses and extra salary that were not budgeted or authorized by the City Council.
The City Council voted 6-1 to direct the City Attorney’s Office to draft the necessary ordinances and return in two months.
Councilwoman Donna Frye cast the lone dissenting vote and Councilman Ben Hueso was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Frye said that while the proposal contains “some really good things,” she preferred the consolidation of the redevelopment agencies into a single entity.
“I just think you haven’t solved really any of the problems that created this,” Frye told her council colleagues.
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