San Diego Working To Toughen Transparency Charter Section
San Diego officials said Wednesday that they are working on language that would toughen a City Charter section that requires entities doing business with the municipal government to disclose all of the people involved in the business relationship.
Their work could lead to an amendment to the City Charter — San Diego's primary governing document — that would go before voters in next year's elections, officials said at a meeting of the City Council's Rules Committee.
The issue is over a charter section requiring such disclosure if a proposed transaction could result in a contract, lease or franchise with the city. The regulation, approved by 86 percent of voters in June 1992, also provides for a potential forfeiture of rights if the disclosures are not complete.
However, the language is considered to be too broad in scope, making it difficult to enforce. Three past city attorneys have recommended taking steps to tighten the rules.
In April, the county grand jury issued a report that contended that many city contractors were not making full disclosures, and the city was not enforcing the requirements.
The council committee unanimously endorsed the plan to develop new City Charter language.
They also gave initial approval to a municipal code ordinance that would, in the meantime, clarify the existing section by adding definitions, indicating what information must be disclosed and the consequences of failing to provide the information, and stating when the material must be provided to the City Council. It would also reiterate an ability for a firm to appeal the city's rejection of a bid or proposal due to violation of the charter section.
The ordinance still needs final approval from the full City Council. Draft language for a City Charter amendment is expected to be presented to the Rules Committee in a few months.