Image: TrueStatement: “I cannot allow any women on the team at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. to engage with the mayor – a serious problem, since nearly 70 percent of our team is female,” San Diego EDC CEO Mark Cafferty wrote in an Aug. 1 op-ed for Voice of San Diego.

Determination: True

Analysis: Business leaders were largely mum on the sexual harassment allegations directed at Mayor Bob Filner until this week.

Then, on Thursday, the San Diego Business Leadership Alliance unanimously voted to call on Filner to resign. San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. CEO Mark Cafferty was among them.

In a Voice of San Diego op-ed published just after the vote, Cafferty explained his decision. He bolstered his argument with a claim that nearly 70 percent of EDC staffers are women, and he doesn’t feel comfortable allowing any of them to interact with the mayor.

We recently fact checked state Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins’ claim about the male vs. female ratio among city workers and turned up some surprising results, so we decided to vet Cafferty’s claim too.

The gender breakdown at the EDC turned out to be vastly different than the city’s staffing makeup.

Here’s a look at the staff page on the group’s website.

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. staff directory

We confirmed with Cafferty that the EDC has 18 staffers. Of those, 12 are women and six are men.

Cafferty said his organization seeks out the most qualified candidates but has tried to maintain gender diversity as the ranks of female executives and business leaders grow.

He acknowledged the group’s board of directors, who are largely selected by member companies and community leaders, are male-dominated.

But when it comes to staffing, women make up the clear majority at the EDC. In fact, about 67 percent of its workers are women and that makes Cafferty’s statement true.

Here’s how that compares with city staffing.

It’s worth noting that the EDC employs far fewer workers than the city, so it’s much easier for the organization to post such a high percentage of female workers, and means even a single hire can have a significant impact on the EDC’s overall gender breakdown.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.