Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Oceanside cleans up

Council ready to chuck aides

Oceanside council chambers
Oceanside council chambers

What one former councilmember called Oceanside’s dirty little secret has been discussed in open session and appears to be on the chopping block.

Jerry Kern. “[Kern's aide's] office was Republican party central headquarters,” says former city councilwoman Shari Mackin

Oceanside is by far the largest city in North County. But its city councilmembers only get paid $30,528 annually. Their special perk is that they get to hire their own full time aide who reports only to them. These aides — who get between $45,516 and $58,092 — don’t need to show up to work at city hall. And when they do, they can work on matters unrelated to the city, according to a former councilmember and a former aide.

“His office was Republican party central headquarters,” says former city councilwoman Shari Mackin about former council aide Ben Sullivan who she says often used his city office to work on political matters.

Chuck Lowery from his councilman Facebook page. "Chuck would send his aide instead of talking to us himself."

Sullivan, who worked for councilmember Jerry Kern, left the employ of the city of Oceanside two years ago. He has long been a member of the San Diego Republican Party Central Committee.

“He was not in the office very much,” says Mackin. “He would go to a lot of luncheons.”

Oceanside councilmembers can hire whomever they want as aides including family members. The city of Oceanside's anti-nepotism rules do not apply to council aides. A high school education is not required.

Peter Weiss, who was appointed mayor in January upon the health-related retirement of Jim Wood, opted not to hire his own aide and let the position of mayor's aide go unfilled. At an April 18 city council meeting, Weiss proposed that the staff readjust the new budget so that the five aide positions would be eliminated and replaced by one staffer who would report to the city manager office and work for all five councilmembers.

Councilmen Kern and Jack Feller agreed with Weiss. As a result of the 3-2 decision, the council will vote June 6 to end the one aide/one councilmember practice.

Weiss noted that Oceanside is the only North County city that allows its council members to hire individual aides. The cities of Escondido, Carlsbad and Vista each have one staffer that answers phones and works for the entire council.

If the budget change passes next month, the city council aides will be phased out, coinciding with the newly created council district elections: because council districts 1 and 2 are up for election in November, the newly elected councilmembers to those districts will enter office in December without individual aides. The position for the aides for districts 3 and 4 will be phased out after the 2020 elections.

Because of the unusual configuration of this year’s council race, three council aides could lose their jobs. Councilmembers Esther Sanchez and Chuck Lowery have said they are both running for district 1. Sanchez faces losing her aide Angela Sanchez (her niece) and Lowery aide Don Green appears headed out the door.

Jerry Kern is running for county supervisor and has said he will not run in the newly created district 2 (where he lives) no matter what happens in the supervisor race. His aide Cliff Ireland would be displaced.

Former councilmember Mackin says now is a good time to end the luxury of city council aides. “Since each member will now be responsible for just one district, they will have a smaller constituency and won’t need an aide as much as when they covered the entire city.”

Mackin says she and many of her South Oceanside neighbors are not happy with how councilmember Lowery would use his aide to avoid communicating with his constituents.

“Regarding the Morse Street [improvement] project Chuck would send his aide instead of talking to us himself. Chuck is always unavailable. When you call him at his office and ask to speak to him, Don Green tells us that we don’t get to talk to Chuck himself. That everything goes through him.”

One former Oceanside City Council aide who did not want to be identified says it is no surprise that councilmembers use their aides as re-election or political operatives. “In any campaign, your staff is one of your biggest expenses. I think having aides like this is a huge advantage for incumbents to keep their jobs.”

Mackin agrees that aides who spend their time on political work is not healthy. “[Deceased city councilwoman] Melba Bishop said being on the city council is about fixing roads and keeping your neighborhood safe. It shouldn’t be about running for Congress or the next stepping stone.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Olive Street pocket park weathers appeal by adjacent home owner

Will AIDS memorial draw thousands?
Next Article

San Diego inside sports

El Cajon Speedway, dark side of NFL, pick-up b-ball, Lakeside's Jarrod Boswell, start of Padres, SDSU football scandal
Oceanside council chambers
Oceanside council chambers

What one former councilmember called Oceanside’s dirty little secret has been discussed in open session and appears to be on the chopping block.

Jerry Kern. “[Kern's aide's] office was Republican party central headquarters,” says former city councilwoman Shari Mackin

Oceanside is by far the largest city in North County. But its city councilmembers only get paid $30,528 annually. Their special perk is that they get to hire their own full time aide who reports only to them. These aides — who get between $45,516 and $58,092 — don’t need to show up to work at city hall. And when they do, they can work on matters unrelated to the city, according to a former councilmember and a former aide.

“His office was Republican party central headquarters,” says former city councilwoman Shari Mackin about former council aide Ben Sullivan who she says often used his city office to work on political matters.

Chuck Lowery from his councilman Facebook page. "Chuck would send his aide instead of talking to us himself."

Sullivan, who worked for councilmember Jerry Kern, left the employ of the city of Oceanside two years ago. He has long been a member of the San Diego Republican Party Central Committee.

“He was not in the office very much,” says Mackin. “He would go to a lot of luncheons.”

Oceanside councilmembers can hire whomever they want as aides including family members. The city of Oceanside's anti-nepotism rules do not apply to council aides. A high school education is not required.

Peter Weiss, who was appointed mayor in January upon the health-related retirement of Jim Wood, opted not to hire his own aide and let the position of mayor's aide go unfilled. At an April 18 city council meeting, Weiss proposed that the staff readjust the new budget so that the five aide positions would be eliminated and replaced by one staffer who would report to the city manager office and work for all five councilmembers.

Councilmen Kern and Jack Feller agreed with Weiss. As a result of the 3-2 decision, the council will vote June 6 to end the one aide/one councilmember practice.

Weiss noted that Oceanside is the only North County city that allows its council members to hire individual aides. The cities of Escondido, Carlsbad and Vista each have one staffer that answers phones and works for the entire council.

If the budget change passes next month, the city council aides will be phased out, coinciding with the newly created council district elections: because council districts 1 and 2 are up for election in November, the newly elected councilmembers to those districts will enter office in December without individual aides. The position for the aides for districts 3 and 4 will be phased out after the 2020 elections.

Because of the unusual configuration of this year’s council race, three council aides could lose their jobs. Councilmembers Esther Sanchez and Chuck Lowery have said they are both running for district 1. Sanchez faces losing her aide Angela Sanchez (her niece) and Lowery aide Don Green appears headed out the door.

Jerry Kern is running for county supervisor and has said he will not run in the newly created district 2 (where he lives) no matter what happens in the supervisor race. His aide Cliff Ireland would be displaced.

Former councilmember Mackin says now is a good time to end the luxury of city council aides. “Since each member will now be responsible for just one district, they will have a smaller constituency and won’t need an aide as much as when they covered the entire city.”

Mackin says she and many of her South Oceanside neighbors are not happy with how councilmember Lowery would use his aide to avoid communicating with his constituents.

“Regarding the Morse Street [improvement] project Chuck would send his aide instead of talking to us himself. Chuck is always unavailable. When you call him at his office and ask to speak to him, Don Green tells us that we don’t get to talk to Chuck himself. That everything goes through him.”

One former Oceanside City Council aide who did not want to be identified says it is no surprise that councilmembers use their aides as re-election or political operatives. “In any campaign, your staff is one of your biggest expenses. I think having aides like this is a huge advantage for incumbents to keep their jobs.”

Mackin agrees that aides who spend their time on political work is not healthy. “[Deceased city councilwoman] Melba Bishop said being on the city council is about fixing roads and keeping your neighborhood safe. It shouldn’t be about running for Congress or the next stepping stone.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Vista squeezes pot clinics with 4375 percent fee rise

While Oceanside ponders the storefronts
Next Article

If sci-fi glam really makes a comeback, UNI will rule them all

Big changes for little band may put them at the head of the class of 2020
Comments
1

San Diego's councilmembers have too many aides, costing too much money. What do they really do? Todd Gloria's North Park rep a while back didn't do much for his salary. He never seemed to have an understanding about problems in North Park. Then he got promoted to Gloria's PR flack position, when he had NO skills or experience. Ronald McDonald could have done better.

April 27, 2018

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close