Robert Bush noon, July 5
Democrats rule in lucrative Filner committee appointments
New mayor fills extra-pay association of governments committees with himself and fellow partisans, disclosure shows
It's official. Democratic Mayor Bob Filner wants to appoint himself to the board of directors and the executive committee of the San Diego Association of Governments, otherwise known as SANDAG.
And Filner, a former member of Congress and veteran of its hardball political spoils system, has made sure his fellow Democrats at city hall will share the wealth.
As noted here last week, payment for the outside board appointments have long served as a quiet source of optional extra cash to supplement council and mayoral salaries, and have been spurned by councilman Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, as a waste of tax dollars.
The latest appointment news is contained in a disclosure filing posted online yesterday by San Diego City Clerk Elizabeth Maland, entitled "Proposed 2013 Appointments by Bob Filner."
The SANDAG board position carries a per meeting stipend of $150, for a total potential annual payment of $3,500, according to the filing.
If Filner can't attend a meeting, his first alternate is fellow Democrat, councilwoman Marti Emerald, who would be able to claim the cash.
The SANDAG executive committee spot pays $100 per meeting. Besides naming himself to that spot, Filner has designated Emerald as his first alternate and Democrat Sherri Lightner second. Total potential annual payment is listed as between $1001 and $2000.
Yet another council Democrat, David Alvarez, is also listed as a Filner-appointed SANDAG board member, with Democrat Sherri Lightner first alternate, and the GOP's Scott Sherman second alternate.
Another disclosure posted online by the city clerk, entitled "Proposed 2013 appointments by Todd Gloria," lists Filner as Gloria's choice for SANDAG board, with Emerald as alternate. Gloria himself is also listed as a member of the SANDAG board, with the GOP's Lorie Zapf as first alternate and Democrat Lightner second.
UPDATE: Our sources on scene report that a dispute broke out between Filner and his fellow Democrat and city council president Gloria during this afternoon's council meeting over who had authority to name SANDAG board members. After a private meeting between Filner and Gloria, the discussion of appointments was reportedly continued until next Monday. As soon as the video replay goes up on the city's website, we expect to have more.
MORE: Filner testified before the city council, directly addressing Gloria:
"Under our charter, the City Council president -- as much as we love him -- does not have the authority to appoint SANDAG representatives, so you are taking up an item which is contrary to our charter."
"Now, in my belief, the mayor has the authority to appoint the SANDAG representatives subject to council confirmation. It is a joint appointment in that respect -- you can turn down anything I say -- you have the free vote.''
After a closed door meeting with Gloria, the mayor returned to the open session and said:
It should not have gotten to this point and we apologize to the council.
Filner added that he and Gloria, "will try to do this in a better way."
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