Mayor Jerry Sanders wants to strengthen his veto, add one council seat to avoid tie votes, and to hold off until 2010 before asking voters to make the strong-mayor form of government permanent.

Those opinions and others are included in a five-page memo he sent to City Council offices yesterday in anticipation of tomorrow’s Rules Committee hearing. At the meeting, the council will begin its deliberations over what bylaw changes should be forwarded to voters in June 2008.

Sanders’ suggestions follow those of a citizen committee that studied the city charter — San Diego’s constitution — for six months. He said he agrees with the panel’s recommendations to requiring a two-thirds vote of the council to override his mayoral veto and others.

But many of the mayor’s opinions stray from those offered by the committee, perhaps dispelling the criticism of those who said Sanders, who empanelled the advisory group, had too much influence over its recommendations.

For example:

  • Sanders wants voters to have until 2010, when the five-year strong-mayor experiment is set to expire, to make it permanent. The arrangement removed the mayor from the City Council and put him in charge of operating the entire city bureaucracy. The committee wants voters to make the strong-mayor structure permanent during the 2008 election.
  • Sanders wants nine council seats; the panel wants 11.
  • The committee wants voters to clarify that the city attorney’s client is the city government and not the general public, as City Attorney Mike Aguirre frequently contends. The mayor said this debate deserves further review and shouldn’t be placed on the 2008 ballot.
  • The committee wants the internal auditor to be hired for a 10-year term by the mayor and report to an Audit Committee comprised of two council members and three council-appointed citizens. Sanders likes the reporting relationship between the auditor and the Audit Committee, but he wants the panel to be comprised of one council member and two mayoral appointees. Under both sets of preferences, the auditor could only be fired by a supermajority of the committee and could appeal that decision with the two-thirds support of the City Council.

The Rules Committee hearing on charter changes will be held tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the 12th floor committee room of City Hall, located at 202 C St.


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