Council committee starts work on City Charter - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Council committee starts work on City Charter

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego city officials Wednesday began the process of developing proposed changes to the City Charter, which residents would have to approve in a public vote.

One issue that could make the ballot is clarifying budget authority between the mayor and City Council.

At a meeting of the City Council's Rules Committee, Councilman Todd Gloria said the panel can only amend an approved budget once, instead of making adjustments throughout the year.

A change needs to be made that is "respectful" of the mayor's budget authority but gives the council more flexibility, Gloria said.

The charter currently envisions "a frozen budget," which was fine when the chief executive was a city manager working under the council's direction, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said.

The arrangement is now awkward under the "strong mayor" form of government implemented in San Diego in the middle of the last decade, he said.

"It is a huge hole in our charter," Goldsmith said.

The council will have to decide whether it views an adopted budget as a "static document" or one that can be amended easily, the city attorney said.

Goldsmith suggested that city officials might also want to study the way it manages the employee pension system. Some changes to the management structure would require charter amendments, he said.

 

The city's Independent Budget Analyst was asked by committee members to return next month with a report.

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