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I finally got in touch with City Councilman Tony Young, who represents the council district, District 4, where the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. is most visible and has most of its projects.
I wanted to talk to Young about the scandal over unbudgeted bonuses paid to SEDC officials.
Young sent me this memo he has sent the city’s independent budget analyst. In the memo, he asks the IBA to take a closer look at the budgetary processes of SEDC and its sister agency, the Centre City Development Corp. Here’s what the memo says:
I am requesting your office review and provide the Council with a report and recommendations on the budget process for SEDC, CCDC, and the Redevelopment Agency particularly as it relates to the process and information provided to boards of directors prior to final approval and forwarding to the City Council; how and who makes decisions on compensation packages; can and should the redevelopment agencies’ budget be presented separately to the City Council for review and discussion; and a review of the contracts the City has with SEDC and CCDC.
Young told me that he wants to see the results of an independent audit into SEDC that he ordered almost two years ago before he takes any further action on SEDC.
“I don’t think we can have a real discussion unless we have those things. It doesn’t make any sense to do anything drastic until we get the results of the audit,” he said.
Young said he expects to see the completed audit sometime in the next couple of weeks.
But Young said he’s going to be “very cautious” about any business SEDC has pending before the City Council. The SEDC board recently re-granted a controversial development deal to a developer tied to the board chairman, a decision I wrote about in this story. That board decision will have to be approved by the City Council.
Young said he’s willing to discuss “just about anything” when it comes to redevelopment in San Diego. Last week, Young’s colleague, Councilman Jim Madaffer, called for SEDC to be disbanded and absorbed by the city’s Redevelopment Area. Madaffer also called for SEDC President Carolyn Y. Smith to be terminated.
I asked Young if it’s time for heads to roll at the agency.
“When we know all the facts, we should make really concise and correct decisions one way or the other,” he said.