James Michael Dorsey 7:40 p.m., Nov. 25
Just what authority will Council President Todd Gloria have after taking control of Mayor's Office?
Dueling memos from Goldsmith and Gloria differs as to the actual powers of an interim-mayor.
On August 23, hours after San Diego city councilmembers agreed to drop their case against Filner and pay up to $98,000 to defend him in the sexual harassment lawsuit from former Communications Director Irene McCormack-Jackson in exchange for Filner's resignation, the City Attorney's Office was fast at work laying out a blueprint for operations at City Hall without an elected mayor.
A report from Goldsmith's Office answered basic questions including: How long the City has to hold a special election for Mayor? 90 days. What the fate is of the current efforts to recall Filner? Moot.
Then there was the question of the limited authority that interim-Mayor/Council President will have after taking the keys to the 11th Floor.
That answer wasn't so clear cut. The legal memo states that Gloria "retains his rights as a member of the Council, continues to preside over Council meetings, and is not authorized to exercise the power of veto."
Gloria will also have the power to supervise mayoral staff and, according to the City Charter, “direct and exercise control over the City Manager in managing the affairs of the City under the purview of the Mayor,” and exercise certain other powers as the Charter provides."
But there is no such thing as a City manager in a Strong-Mayor system. That is where interpretation can come into play.
Council President Gloria was quick to offer his own opinion, one slightly different from the City Attorney's Office.
One difference is who will preside over council meetings.
Attorneys say Gloria will continue to lead council meetings. Gloria says that responsibility will fall on Council Pro-Tem Sherri Lightner.
“Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner will lead meetings of the City Council while I fulfill the duties of the mayor. Sherri is a trusted colleague and able Councilmember. I know that she will carry out these duties well."
Gloria then says he and city executives will "establish priorities for addressing the concerns facing our City."
“First, a top-down review of all City departments to ensure they are properly staffed and that their actions comply with all City rules and regulations. This will include swift action on pending items that have languished on Mayor Filner’s desk for months."
“As you might anticipate, there will be some staffing changes needed to make this happen. I will announce these changes as they occur."
The City Attorney's Office, however, says Gloria will only supervise current mayoral staff, and push through legislation that "is necessary to meet a legal requirement imposed by a court or another governmental agency."
Katie Keach, Chief of Staff for Council President Gloria had the following to say about her boss's new role as interim-mayor.
"Being realistic about the energy, time, and attention necessary to sort through and resolve the issues remaining from the Filner administration, Council President Gloria asked Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner to run Council meetings for the time being."
"Though it hasn't been the case for the past eight months, San Diegans should expect both the executive and legislative branches to function and collaborate, and that will occur with Council President Gloria serving as Acting Mayor and Council President Pro Tem Lightner running Council meetings in his absence, as prescribed by their duties."
More like this:
- Did interim mayor Todd Gloria have the authority to rescind stop-use order for Jack in the Box? — Aug. 31, 2013
- Did City Attorney Jan Goldsmith lift the suspension on closed session meetings? — July 7, 2013
- Council President Todd Gloria's Office says no vote was taken to release closed-session transcripts — July 3, 2013
- Council President Todd Gloria once served as a board member for the Tourism Authority — March 28, 2013
- Democrats rule in lucrative Filner committee appointments — Jan. 8, 2013