After reading this story today about the tens of thousands of dollars in unseen bonuses received annually by officials at the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., Mayor Jerry Sanders sent a memo to the chairman of SEDC’s board this afternoon demanding answers.

The mayor wrote:

I have followed the Voice of San Diego’s coverage of SEDC and am very concerned about this morning’s report regarding possible irregularities in compensation practices. I am now seeking your response to a number of important questions regarding your Board’s oversight of compensation policies and practices.

One of the key elements of today’s story is the fact that the president of SEDC, Carolyn Smith, paid herself tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in bonuses and extra compensation without the knowledge of SEDC’s board or the City Council, which sits as the city’s Redevelopment Agency and oversees SEDC.

The mayor’s spokesman, Fred Sainz, said earlier today that the mayor wants to establish for himself whether Smith was allowed to pay herself the bonuses, and whether, indeed, there was no oversight from SEDC’s board.

The five board members (of a total of nine) reached for today’s story said they had never had any discussions regarding paying Smith or other top officials’ bonuses. They said they had no knowledge of the extra payments.

The mayor’s memo asks the chairman of the board, Artie M. “Chip” Owen to answer a number of questions about how the bonuses are awarded and what oversight of the payments there is at the board level. (Owen himself is no stranger to SEDC-related controversy)

Owen didn’t return calls seeking comment for today’s story.

WILL CARLESS

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