Three former presidents of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) have been cited in this city's great metropolitan daily paper, all seeming to contradict the previous published interview statements of outgoing SEDC president Carolyn Smith. (See http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080821-9999-1m21sedc.html)

In her interview, Smith had described the practices of approving and enjoying apparently off-budget bonuses as "predating" her arrival as president about a decade and a half ago. She also stated that if these practices were in any way irregular, then they would have been discovered during any of the annual audits that allegedly took place at SEDC.

These same practices resulted in the Mayor Jerry Sanders call for Smith's resignation after it was revealed that her annual pay was a significant amount above that earlier approved by the City Council's vote on SEDC's stated budget. With the backing of 4th District councilmember Tony Young, SEDC's board voted unanimously to end Smith's employment as president, along with some nice parting gifts: 90 days to leave office and another bonus in the form of severance pay. Since no good deed goes unpunished in this lifetime, Young is now the object of a recall campaign in the 4th District (http://www.voiceofsandiego.com/articles/2008/07/31/this_just_in/838recall073008.txt). Of course, the City Attorney's office is now directly involved... no, not in the recall, just in suing Smith in her fiduciary role as SEDC prez (http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/sedc/20080808-1943-bn08sedc.html).

According to the paper, Jerry Groomes (88-93), Stephen Harding (87-88), and Reese Jarrett (82-86) all deny receiving presidential bonuses while at the helm of SEDC.

Also in the paper, Smith arrived at SEDC while Jarrett was SEDC president in 1984. After Jarrett left SEDC, he did some other things around town, such as serve on the board of now-closed Harborside School as its last president (http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070526/news_7m26harbor.html).

Now, either Smith is correct that at least one of the above did receive one or more bonuses approved and enjoyed by that ex-president, or she is not.

If she is correct, then one or more people mentioned above lied to our daily newspaper. It also raises some interesting questions about who was working at SEDC then compared to now, and if the people handing up "staff budget recommendations" for nice bonuses recently were the same people so many years ago who were forwarding recommendations then, when Smith first handed in her application so many years ago. (Just wondering: Did any of these people also hire the auditors?)

If she is not correct, then the same interesting questions are raised...

It would be somewhat amusing to discover that Smith's first job at SEDC was in any way to help make the annual budget recommendations to the president...

Comments

jerome Aug. 23, 2008 @ 5:41 p.m.

not much integrity to be found in the redevelopment of san diego county areas... se, downtown, and even 3rd district >>opps they havent been caught yet! but it will happen! mayor sanders and our city attorney are and will do what they can, but the long time san diegans who have connections and sit on these boards really are quite contemtous of ethics and integrity...as their transgretions are slowly coming to light , and will continue. I have faith some of our elected officals do have personal integrity>>or am i just a hopeful dreamer.

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a2zresource Aug. 23, 2008 @ 7:38 p.m.

I am not convinced that all politicians are crooks... but I am convinced that many new politicians are just opportunists looking to cash in like some previously-publicized corrupt politicians before them.

Personal integrity among newly elected politicians would be improved if there were existing personal principles that would encourage personal integrity to thrive. Unfortunately, there are too many of them who see election to office as a free pass to acting without caring who or how many are watching... even when some who are watching carry the title of "public prosecutor".

Some thoughts on having been one of those elected ones in a previous life:

1) Always keep a blank resignation letter in your top desk drawer. When you go longer than three years with "Hail to the Chief" as your favorite ring tone, then you've been in office too long and are beginning to think of retiring in office, both of which are really bad things to more than 8 out of 10 voters.

2) Appearance is everything... and once the spotlight is on you, you must appear to be flawless. BIG FLAW: GETTING YOUR ASSETS SPANKED ON A DAILY BASIS IN THE CITY'S DAILY PAPER... WHILE TRYING TO SILENCE YOUR BIGGEST ELECTED CRITIC WITH A CONSULTANT-LED RECALL CAMPAIGN.

3) Never call an American of Mexican, Asian or some other non-White descent a "disgruntled minority" at a public meeting of a California legislative body under the Brown Act.

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