Photo by Sam Hodgson
Mayor Bob Filner introduces new staff members during a press conference at City Hall.
Mayor Bob Filner is making progress on at least one campaign pledge.
We identified Filner’s pledge to prioritize diversity in his staffing decisions as one of the three big promises he made to San Diegans while campaigning. He unveiled movement on that front in a press conference Monday.
Women make up more than half of Filner’s new staffers, and more than a quarter of the hires are black or Latino. Filner also brought in Asian and LGBT employees. You can check out a list of Filner’s new hires, as well as their titles and salaries, here.
“I made a simple campaign pledge that we would change the face of City Hall, bringing in the full diversity of the community and I think the diversity of this city, and this nation, is reflected in the staff behind me,” Filner said at the press conference.
While the new staffers have a wide range of backgrounds, many have similar resumes: Filner said more than half have worked for him before.
Here’s a sampling of those past connections:
• Chief of Staff Vince Hall worked for Filner for nearly a decade during the new mayor’s time as a councilman and congressman. (For more on Hall’s experience working for Filner, check out this November Q-and-A.)
• Francisco Estrada, who will act as a liaison between the Mayor’s Office and the City Council, served in Filner’s City Council office.
• Deputy Chief of Staff Allen Jones, who is set to prioritize community planning and quality of life issues, is a former Filner chief of staff.
• Filner dubbed Mayoral Assistant Al Alvarado’s his longest-serving staffer. Alvarado, a former National City councilman, has worked for Filner for decades.
Filner acknowledged his demeanor as an employer helps explain his tendency to hire people he’s worked with before — he prefers those with experience dealing with the “intensity” of the job, he said.
“I’m a pretty hard driver of people. I demand excellence of myself and them and they know that and it’s important, I think, that you have people who understand that need for excellence because they’re used to it,” he said Monday. “It’s part of the experience and they can help train the others in that.”
As we’ve noted, Filner must hire dozens of staffers and select hundreds of San Diegans to serve on the city’s boards and commissions.
We’ll be watching to see whether Filner continues to prioritize diversity as he makes additional appointments as part of our effort to track the status of the mayor’s campaign promises.
Liam Dillon contributed to this story.
Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0528.
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