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You may have noticed Matt Hall’s story today in the Union-Tribune about the inexcusable reality that the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.’s board of directors is almost wholly made up of people whose terms have run out.
Hall does a good job of holding the mayor accountable for this. The members stay on the board until a replacement is named. The mayor has no reasonable explanation for why he hasn’t appointed new members.
Our own Andrew Donohue did this story in December 2006. Remember, Donohue and Will Carless have been trying to send out the signal that something was wrong at SEDC for quite some time. There was just something about salaries and clandestine bonuses that finally captured the public’s attention.
Anyway, way back in December 2006, Donohue revealed that:
The term of every member of the nine-member SEDC board, which oversees the redevelopment in southeast San Diego, is expired. Two have resigned, and the remaining seven have stayed on the board per city protocol, awaiting a replacement or formal reappointment.
After that story, the mayor appointed several people to the board but to shortened terms. Now, eight of the nine board members are serving beyond their terms.
This is patently absurd.
What was the mayor’s excuse in 2006?
Fred Sainz, Sanders spokesman, said the appointment process inherited by the mayor when he took office one year ago “was in a state of complete and total disrepair.”
He said the mayor focused on filling what he considered the most important posts first, citing appointments made to the Centre City Development Corp., the employees’ retirement system and the Planning Commission. “That’s not to say that SEDC is not important,” he said.
“This is a systemic issue,” Sainz said. “This is not just an SEDC issue.”
Not to say SEDC is not important. What a joke. That’s exactly what he was saying.
And now, what’s the mayor’s excuse more than a year and a half later.
From Hall’s story today:
Yesterday, Sanders said the inattention shown to SEDC was purposeful. His priority has been to fill positions on boards with more influence on daily city operations and boards whose members were not willing to stay on.
“We have gone in priority order,” he said. “We’re getting down to SEDC, but there are a lot of boards and commissions. … Unfortunately this wasn’t at the top of the priority list.”
A new slate of aggressive and concerned board members appointed after Donohue’s story in 2006 would have had a good opportunity to discover what was going on at the agency. The evidence is there that the three that were appointed following the story have, in fact, been aggressive and concerned.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the mayor’s “priority.”