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.