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Politics

Gloria To Remain City Council President - At Least Until Wednesday

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria talks about handing the reins over to Mayor Elect Kevin Faulconer.
Claire Trageser
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria talks about handing the reins over to Mayor Elect Kevin Faulconer.

The City Council Monday postponed a vote on a new leader for a couple of days until a new colleague is seated.

The delay proposed by current council President Todd Gloria stems from a conflict between the panel's rules on when to choose a leader for the upcoming year and a City Charter amendment approved by voters that sets inauguration day for Dec. 10, or the first business day thereafter.

The way the dates fell this year, a council president could have been chosen today, before incoming District 6 representative Chris Cate is sworn in Wednesday.

Instead, Gloria's proposal to wait and call a special meeting for Wednesday afternoon was approved unanimously.

Cate — speaking as a member of the public — said the delay was the "logical, necessary and right thing to do," and was in keeping with what the voters decided when approving the charter amendment.

The postponement comes amid a backdrop of talk that Gloria will be challenged for the post by Sherri Lightner, who serves as the president pro tem, or second-in-command. Both are among the majority Democrats on the technically nonpartisan City Council. Their margin is 6-3, but will shrink to 5- 4 when Cate takes office. Lightner could win the post if supported by all of the Republicans.

Lightner's office did not respond to a request for comment, while other council members have remained silent on the matter.

The council president wields considerable power over setting meeting agendas, determines committee assignments and often appears with the mayor in a ceremonial role.

The council today also established a special committee to review the City Charter, which several San Diego officials have described as obsolete.

Recommendations issued by the committee, which will meet for 18 months, would go before voters over the next couple of years. The committee, which will consist of four council members, could be extended for another year and a half, if necessary.

Lightner said the committee will address issues brought up by previous charter review committees and listed in a report from the City Attorney's Office.

"Areas identified by department directors and city staff as needing improvements to aid in improving the functioning of those departments, and areas in the charter identified by members of the public as high priorities for improvements or changes," Lightner said.

The proposal passed unanimously.