Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008 | What is going on at Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office? We are enraged that all you need do to have job security in San Diego is to have a politician friend! Don’t get us wrong, we really think that Mayor Sanders has done a fantastic job with the city’s finances, but transforming City Hall into a third-world republic kind of office is wrong!

What does Gerry Braun know about public administration? What kind of position is “director of special projects?”  Even the title is an insult!  It is clear to everyone that this is just a political favor owed to a friend at the expense of San Diego residents. At a time when people are losing their jobs and many San Diego businesses are closing their doors, we need to make sure that our politicians comply with their fiduciary responsibility, which is to look after the best interests of San Diego residents, and we just cannot see how the this hiring is in our best interests.

Mayor Sanders has been laying off many city employees, citing that their salaries could not be justified. We all applauded that move and that is why we re-elected him; but now, it looks like he just started hiring friends in need. What does a director of special projects do? How is the position so vital for the city’s daily operations that in times of scarcity he can still find the budget to fund such a hire? How many people of those that were laid off by Mayor Sanders could still be feeding their families with the salary that he is going to pay Mr. Braun?  How is it that the city has been functioning efficiently so far, and now after a major downsizing at the Union Tribune we need to add Mr. Braun’s $140,000 annual salary to the city’s payroll? If this position is so indispensable, why was a longtime journalist selected for the job? Who else was interviewed? How can we measure his performance and hold him accountable for the job? After all, he is just a special projects director, right, so if there are no special projects, does he even have to report to work?

Why doesn’t the city subcontract specialized small companies for the so-called “special projects?” So many of the companies that are in San Diego that provide jobs to San Diegans are struggling in these harsh times, why not help our local city businesses instead of incrementing the city’s payroll? A hand from the city in a form of contract would be nice and appreciated by many private, efficient, capable and well-run San Diego companies.  By the way, this would not add health insurance costs, retirement, and other expenses, wouldn’t you think?

We all need to oppose to this kind of behavior now, before go back to Mayor Dick Murphy’s time! One thing is to tolerate that Mayor Sanders allows himself to work with Kris Michell, who has such a damaged personal reputation, and who uses our city-paid staff to go out on the city’s time to purchase lunch at her favorite restaurants, who sends them to run her personal errands, or for coffee at Starbucks, which is all well known by everyone in and out of City Hall.  We would not be surprised to find out that [hiring Gerry Braun] was another of her brilliant ideas on how to abuse her power over Mayor Sanders and his administration.

We all empathize with Gerry Braun, and we have nothing personal against him, but it is not San Diego city residents’ problem if he loses his job. He needs to find his way out of this like the rest of us. We are sure that he also has good friends in the private sector, and a man with his background should not have any problems finding a good job, unless he is unqualified to work for a business that holds people accountable, but if that is the case, then he isn’t qualified for a city job either, right? We are impressed though that being a serious journalist, he even accepts being a part of this.

Mayor Sanders, you have been doing a fantastic job so far; many of our association members are immigrants from Latin America and recognize this practice that you just started as a common factor in these Latin countries that invariably leads to destruction. Through out human history, we have proof that these kinds of excesses destroy civilizations. We all experienced how those excesses almost forced our city into bankruptcy, and now, you are overshadowing your successes within your administration with this kind of abuse. Please do not set this kind of precedent in your administration; it is just not worth it!

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