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Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office is considering eliminating or consolidating the city’s two nonprofit redevelopment agencies: the Centre City Development Corp. and the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.
The two agencies are unique in California and have both come under heavy scrutiny within the last year: CCDC for the undisclosed financial relationships of its former president, Nancy Graham; SEDC for the clandestine bonus system created by its former president, Carolyn Y. Smith.
The Mayor’s Office is in the midst of developing a proposal that would install more direct oversight on the two nonprofits. That examination will go further, said Rachel Laing, Sanders’ spokeswoman, and evaluate whether the agencies should be reorganized.
“We’re taking a holistic look and trying to figure out whether this is the best structure,” Laing said. “Those are two possibilities that have to be considered.”
If the agencies were eliminated, their duties would be folded under the auspices of the city’s existing Redevelopment Agency, which currently oversees projects in neighborhoods such as Grantville, North Park and City Heights. The Mayor’s Office is also considering whether it can gain efficiencies from consolidating them into one nonprofit.
Any recommendation to eliminate the two agencies is likely to draw protests from the City Council members who represent the areas. City Councilman Kevin Faulconer said he believes CCDC’s specific focus on revitalizing downtown has proven advantageous.
“I’ll certainly look at anything the mayor’s folks come out with,” Faulconer said. “But the specific geographic focus of CCDC has been successful.”
City Councilman Tony Young said he did not want to see SEDC disbanded. He said getting rid of CCDC made more sense.
“Give SEDC a chance to do what it was set up to do,” Young said. “SEDC needs a chance to be able to be successful and I’m not going to allow anybody to just disband an agency that serves my district.”
The reorganization discussion is causing CCDC to delay its search for a new president. CCDC Chairman Fred Maas said the agency didn’t want to launch a national search at the same time the city was considering reorganizing the agencies.
“It’d be damaging to our reputation and the city’s reputation that we’re soliciting applications for candidates but by the time (they start) the organization could disappear or appear different than at the beginning of the search process,” Maas said.