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City of San Diego officials are disputing reports that the city has selected a permanent president for the redevelopment agency in southeastern San Diego.
Jerry Groomes, the city manager of Carson in Los Angeles County, announced he will become president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. at a Carson City Council meeting last week, according to the Daily Breeze newspaper.
The news appears to be so official in Carson that the city’s mayor thanked Groomes for his service during his State of the City address last week.
But San Diego leaders haven’t confirmed Groomes’ hiring.
“No one has been offered the position,” said Darren Pudgil, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders. “We are still in the hiring process.”
“When it comes to hiring, I’m not going to comment until we’ve made a formal announcement,” said City Councilman Tony Young, whose district includes SEDC’s neighborhoods.
SEDC’s current interim president, Brian Trotier, said no one has notified him of any decision. He found out about Groomes when a newspaper reporter called him. He would like someone to let him know.
“I don’t think that’s a terribly unreasonable request after two years of work,” said Trotier, who’s applied for the job.
I have calls in to Groomes and Carson’s Mayor Jim Dear.
If Groomes is hired he likely will have to take a pay cut. The Daily Breeze reported he makes almost $225,000 a year as Carson’s city manager. The projected salary for SEDC’s new president is $150,000.
Groomes’ name should be familiar. He was SEDC’s president in the early 1990s before becoming a city manager in East Palo Alto in the Bay Area and then Carson.
The permanent president position became open in 2008 when the board fired Carolyn Y. Smith after our investigation revealed the agency’s clandestine bonus system. We wrote about the agency’s new allegations against Smith today.