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SEDC Board Accused of Violating Brown Act

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

 

The board of San Diego’s South East Development Corporation or SEDC  is under fire for voting behind closed doors on a termination settlement for its executive director, Carolyn Smith.

 

KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

 

The  SEDC board fired Smith after reports she had awarded herself bonuses worth tens of thousands of dollars.  

 

But, even after pressure from San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders asking Smith to step down, the board met in closed session and awarded her more than 100 thousand dollars in severance pay.

 

Terry Francke, an attorney for Californians Aware, an open government advocacy group, says that was illegal.

 

Francke: The Brown Act says when you are having a closed session on discipline, dismissal or release you may not, within that closed session, discuss compensation.

 

The Corporation put out a statement saying the board did not alter the terms of Smith’s employment agreement during the meeting. But a description of the termination agreement actually states Smith was awarded money she is not otherwise entitled to.

 

A city audit shows the development corporation spends almost 40% of its revenues on administrative costs.

 

Alison St John, KPBS news.

 

 

 

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