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Six-figure salaries marked Faulconer’s costly patronage

Todd Gloria faces key staffing decisions behind closed doors

Aimee Faucett took over after Kris Michell vacated office in the wake of the Ash Street embarrassment.
Aimee Faucett took over after Kris Michell vacated office in the wake of the Ash Street embarrassment.

While city council Democrats are bickering in public over which of them will become the next council president, a quieter transition is about to occur regarding who will run the city under the stewardship of Democratic mayor-elect Todd Gloria.

Matt Awbrey departed city hall on October 2.

The most recent official organization chart of his termed-out predecessor, Republican Kevin Faulconer, dated October 2, lays out a virtual plum book of richly paid positions up for grabs as Gloria retreats behind closed doors to map out his new administration.

Beyond questions of public expense, political lobbying, and lack of transparency, the traditional San Diego process raises questions about how smart it was for city voters to toss out the long-serviceable city manager form of government and replace it with a so-called strong mayor regime.

Since then, political patronage has become a primary practice of the mayor's office, which critics say has led directly to policy and financial meltdowns. Those include the infamous 101 Ash Street downtown office tower scandal and more than 3000 streetlight spy cams installed without public notice.

Erik Caldwell, Faulconer's deputy chief operating officer, got $237,389 in 2019.

Currently on top of Faulconer's pyramid is chief of staff and interim chief operating officer Aimee Faucett, who took over after longtime GOP operative Kris Michell vacated office in September of this year in the wake of the Ash Street embarrassment.

In 2019, Faucett received a total of $288,495 in pay and benefits when she held the sole position of chief of staff, according to the website TransparentCalifornia.com. Michell got $341,190 as chief operating officer.

Among those at the next level, designated the city's executive team, is assistant chief operating officer policy Almis Udrys, an ex-GOP Assembly aide, who drew $239,607.

The mayor's ex-top PR honcho Matt Awbrey, a one-time political consultant employed by Faulconer when he was a city councilman, departed city hall on October 2 of this year, according to his leaving office statement filed November 3.

In 2019 Awbrey got $233,840 in total pay and benefits as the mayor’s assistant deputy chief operating officer.

Yet another longtime Republican player, school board candidate, and former trash company lobbyist, Johnnie Perkins, Jr., got $267,919 as Faulconer's deputy chief pperating officer for public utilities.

Erik Caldwell, Faulconer's deputy chief operating officer for smart and sustainable communities, was once chief of staff to Nathan Fletcher, then a Republican, in the California Assembly.

He got $237,389 in 2019.

Assistant chief of staff Francis Barraza, an ex-executive director of the San Diego Republican Party,received $177,303.

The mayor's chief flack Craig Gustafson, an ex-Union-Tribune staffer who now holds the director of communications title, got $153,061.

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Aimee Faucett took over after Kris Michell vacated office in the wake of the Ash Street embarrassment.
Aimee Faucett took over after Kris Michell vacated office in the wake of the Ash Street embarrassment.

While city council Democrats are bickering in public over which of them will become the next council president, a quieter transition is about to occur regarding who will run the city under the stewardship of Democratic mayor-elect Todd Gloria.

Matt Awbrey departed city hall on October 2.

The most recent official organization chart of his termed-out predecessor, Republican Kevin Faulconer, dated October 2, lays out a virtual plum book of richly paid positions up for grabs as Gloria retreats behind closed doors to map out his new administration.

Beyond questions of public expense, political lobbying, and lack of transparency, the traditional San Diego process raises questions about how smart it was for city voters to toss out the long-serviceable city manager form of government and replace it with a so-called strong mayor regime.

Since then, political patronage has become a primary practice of the mayor's office, which critics say has led directly to policy and financial meltdowns. Those include the infamous 101 Ash Street downtown office tower scandal and more than 3000 streetlight spy cams installed without public notice.

Erik Caldwell, Faulconer's deputy chief operating officer, got $237,389 in 2019.

Currently on top of Faulconer's pyramid is chief of staff and interim chief operating officer Aimee Faucett, who took over after longtime GOP operative Kris Michell vacated office in September of this year in the wake of the Ash Street embarrassment.

In 2019, Faucett received a total of $288,495 in pay and benefits when she held the sole position of chief of staff, according to the website TransparentCalifornia.com. Michell got $341,190 as chief operating officer.

Among those at the next level, designated the city's executive team, is assistant chief operating officer policy Almis Udrys, an ex-GOP Assembly aide, who drew $239,607.

The mayor's ex-top PR honcho Matt Awbrey, a one-time political consultant employed by Faulconer when he was a city councilman, departed city hall on October 2 of this year, according to his leaving office statement filed November 3.

In 2019 Awbrey got $233,840 in total pay and benefits as the mayor’s assistant deputy chief operating officer.

Yet another longtime Republican player, school board candidate, and former trash company lobbyist, Johnnie Perkins, Jr., got $267,919 as Faulconer's deputy chief pperating officer for public utilities.

Erik Caldwell, Faulconer's deputy chief operating officer for smart and sustainable communities, was once chief of staff to Nathan Fletcher, then a Republican, in the California Assembly.

He got $237,389 in 2019.

Assistant chief of staff Francis Barraza, an ex-executive director of the San Diego Republican Party,received $177,303.

The mayor's chief flack Craig Gustafson, an ex-Union-Tribune staffer who now holds the director of communications title, got $153,061.

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Comments
4
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
Nov. 10, 2020

Whaa? Can't mention what a gang of crooks SD GOP are?

Dec. 14, 2020

Another report about the lame duck mayor's dismal record during his terms in the office is no surprise. Given how poorly the city government actually runs, you have to question if there was any connection between those overpaid drones and the rank-and-file employees in the departments. Did all those six-figure salaries translate into a well-run city? LOL Matt makes a point about this current "strong mayor" city government and whether the former city manager form wasn't just as good and maybe better. When the establishment types sold this new approach to the gullible city voters, it was supposed to make the city less bureaucratic, quicker to respond to needs, and more efficient. Since then none of those features has been apparent. Then there was Kev-boy's heavy use of media mouthpieces, all overpaid, who generally added no value to the city, being principally concerned with spinning the mayor's record to the public. In essence the city taxpayers were stuck with the cost of promoting his questionable future political prospects. A totally sickening story of failure.

Nov. 12, 2020

This is what happens when politicians promote their donors and friends to high paid positions without any qualifications. Money talks and . . . . (you know the rest). Everyone involved in the Ash Street fiasco should have been fired or recalled and prosecuted for malfeasance.

Nov. 15, 2020

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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
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