Kimberly Blough 6:28 p.m., March 9
- Community Blog
- Encanto Gas Holder
SEDC Saga Continues: ex-presidents and opening moves
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...