SAN DIEGO -- A changing of the guard took place today at 5 pm, when Bob Filner's resignation as mayor took effect, and City Council President Todd Gloria assumed the role of Interim Mayor.
After nearly 6 weeks of calls for Filner's resignation from citizens, local and national leaders, and the full city council, an agreement was reached in closed session last week that included Filner's resignation.
As part of the deal, Filner requested an additional week in office, setting his resignation date to Friday, Aug. 30 at 5 pm. It is unclear why Filner wanted to stay in office for the additional 7 days past the time the agreement was reached.
Because the City Charter dictates the Council President assume the duties of Interim Mayor upon resignation of a mayor, no swearing in ceremony needed to occur.
Gloria, who will be the first openly gay man - and a gay person of color - to serve as mayor of a major U.S. city, said today that he is looking forward to leading San Diego until a new mayor is elected.
"I am extremely humbled to take on this role and excited for the opportunity to get San Diego moving forward again," said Council President Gloria. "In the past week, I have been briefed about several issues that have languished on Mayor Filner’s desk, and I expect I’ll learn about more challenges when I enter the office today. Working with the City Council, City Attorney, and our dedicated City employees, I am confident progress will occur in the days and weeks ahead.”
Gloria will become the second LGBT leader to serve as Acting Mayor following a major city crisis.
Toni Atkins, currently Majority Leader of the California Assembly, served as Acting Mayor from July 18 to Dec. 5, 2005 at the height of the last major city crisis. Atkins took over following the resignations of embattled Mayor Dick Murphy during the city’s pension crisis and then Acting Mayor Michael Zucchet, who quit three days into his leadership after being convicted in a corruption scandal involving strip clubs. Zucchet would eventually be cleared of all charges.
As for carrying out the work of the mayor's office, Gloria says that he has reviewed staffing, and will work to develop a team "dedicated to putting San Diego first and moving the city forward."
"The Office of the Mayor will be staffed by experienced, responsible, and responsive individuals who share my goal of moving the City forward in a transparent, collaborative way," said Council President Gloria.
The mayor's office will be led by Gloria's chief of staff Jamie Fox, with Katie Keach serving as the Chief of Communications. Venessa Jackson, Gloria’s Executive Administrative Assistant, will move to the Office of the Mayor to assist with office administration.
Irene McCormack-Jackson, the first woman to come forward with sexual harassment allegations against the mayor, will return to her job in the mayor's office as Director of Communications.
Gloria's Council District Three office will be led by Stephen Hill, who has served as Senior Policy Advisor. Dion Akers, Anthony Bernal, Adrian Granda, and Courtney Thomson will remain in their positions assisting neighbors with issues of concern. Jessica Lawrence will remain as the Budget and Finance Committee Consultant.
According to a release issued by Gloria's office, some remaining employees in the Filner administration were informed today by Human Resources staff that they may continue to serve in the Office of the Mayor while job duties and staffing needs are determined during the interim period as the election for a new mayor is pending. This process is being overseen by the Department of Human Resources with the advice of the City Attorney.
U-T San Diego reports that Chief of Staff Lee Burdick, Assistant Chief Operating Officer Nelson Hernandez, Council Liaison Francisco Estrada and Director of Community Outreach Linda Perine were also leaving their posts.
A special election has been set for Nov. 19 to elect a new mayor.
While Gloria is now Interim Mayor, his first full day in the office will be Tuesday due to the long holiday weekend. On Tuesday, he plans to meet with his staff, talk to leadership of city departments, and participate in an event with the American Red Cross.