The Southeastern Economic Development Corp.’s board has cleared the way for Brian Trotier, the agency’s interim president, to apply to keep the job permanently.

At its July 28 meeting, the board voted to allow Trotier to apply to be the agency’s permanent president, something it’d previously said Trotier wouldn’t be allowed to.

Trotier would not say whether he had applied for the job (though he’d asked the agency’s board to clear the way for it). The deadline for applications was Aug. 13.

“I do not talk about personnel matters,” Trotier said. “Including myself.”

When the agency hired Trotier on a temporary basis in the aftermath of a clandestine bonus scandal that ousted its former president, Carolyn Y. Smith, the board made clear the interim president would be ineligible to apply for the permanent job.

“We did not want them applying because we were afraid it could have a dampening effect on other people applying for the job,” SEDC chairman D. Cruz Gonzalez said. “We didn’t want them to think the person already there would be a shoo-in.”

Trotier was hired in October 2008, and was only supposed to stay on the job for five months. But as delays in the hiring process for a permanent leader forced SEDC to extend Trotier’s contract several times, Gonzalez said the situation changed. Gonzalez said the board made the decision after Trotier asked if he could apply.

“We gave him the opportunity because he’s given us almost two years’ good service. This was originally supposed to be a five month gig,” Gonzalez said. SEDC is responsible for redeveloping some of the city’s most blighted neighborhoods.

A nominating committee made up of two SEDC board members, City Councilmen Tony Young and Ben Hueso, and representatives from Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office is scheduled to review applicants for the job on Aug. 25, and interview finalists next month. They will then recommend a candidate to Sanders.

As interim president, Trotier earns $150,000 a year. Last year, the agency gave Trotier a $30,000 raise, citing his strong performance and the fact that, as a temporary consultant and not a city employee, he does not receive standard benefits such as health insurance.

Gonzalez said more than a dozen people had submitted applications to the Roberts Consulting Group, the Beverly Hills-based firm leading the agency’s recruitment effort.

“We are not endorsing him or saying Brian is the guy,” Gonzalez said. “The selection is not determined by the board. Ultimately it is a decision made by the mayor.”

— ADRIAN FLORIDO

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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