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New San Diego Mayor Asks Managers to Quit

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Jerry Sanders seeks to cut a third of the city's nonunion posts. He says it's part of fixing a 'broken' government.

January 04, 2006|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Newly elected Mayor Jerry Sanders said Tuesday that he wanted the city's middle and top managers to submit their resignations this week as part of his plan to reorganize a "broken" city government.

Sanders said the goal was to eliminate one-third of the management positions that weren't covered by union contracts. The city doesn't know how many of these jobs there are because of the lack of a centralized personnel system.

"I've been on the job now for 28 days, and one thing has become clear to me: San Diego's government systems are broken, and they are badly in need of repair," Sanders said.

City managers also don't know how many contracts the city holds, what property the city owns or how much rent it collects each month, he said.

"The existence of any one of these issues is inexcusable. The fact that they all exist is quite literally beyond belief," Sanders said. "They've come as a result of years of neglect."

On Sunday, the city shifted to a strong-mayor form of government approved by voters in November 2004. The new system gives Sanders the authority to hire and fire personnel and prepare the city's budget.

Sanders said his first priority was the city's financial health. San Diego faces a $19-million budget shortfall, three overdue annual audits and investigations by the U.S. attorney's office and Securities and Exchange Commission into possible fraud and corruption related to a pension deficit of at least $1.4 billion.

During his campaign against City Councilwoman Donna Frye, Sanders, a former San Diego police chief, said he would demand the resignations from city management.

He also said he planned to outsource jobs to save money, sell land and take on debt through bond sales to reduce the massive pension deficit.

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