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City Council Picks Southeastern Economic Development Corp. President

— The San Diego City Council today unanimously agreed to have a former president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. reassume that role.

Jerome Groomes, the former city manager of Carson -- near Los Angeles -- will be paid $170,000 annually to take over the once troubled redevelopment agency, which has a budget this year of $10.7 million, down about one-third from the previous fiscal year.

A 2008 city audit of the SEDC found that a former president granted more than $872,000 in extra pay to herself and employees, and that financial oversight of the agency was lacking.

A year later, the City Council tightened controls over the SEDC and its far-larger downtown companion, the Centre City Development Corp. Among other things, the mayor was given the power to hire and fire the chief executives of the organizations, with the council's consent.

The SEDC, which Groomes led from 1988 to 1993, and CCDC operate as quasi-independent arms of the city's Redevelopment Agency.

Asked by Councilwoman Marti Emerald how he would earn back the trust of the public for the agency, he said, "I think if I have one true strength, it's working with people and collaborating in getting to common goals."

A committee formed to hire the SEDC president received 50 resumes, and Mayor Jerry Sanders picked Groomes out of three finalists.

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