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City Council Unanimously Backs Council-Mayor Cooperation Proposal

A 10-point plan for the City Council and San Diego's next mayor to improve communication and get along on budget issues was passed unanimously today by the City Council.

Council President Tony Young introduced the plan last month by noting that the November general election will usher in the first new mayor since the city's strong-mayor form of government was reaffirmed by voters four years later.

Councilman Carl DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, are facing each other in the mayor's race., and both pledged to follow the listed principles if elected.


Young took part in a government executive education program this summer at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and said his 10 Principles of Good Governance should set the "foundation for the next 30 to 50 years for the city of San Diego.''

Among the points are guidelines for the mayor to:

-- speak at City Council meetings monthly to report on significant financial and operational issues that impact the city;

-- work with the council to reduce the backlog of capital projects, which is in the hundreds of millions of dollars;

-- help develop annual "Statements of Budgetary Principals,'' which were first adopted in 2008 as working agreements between the mayor and council;


-- adhere to a set of financial practices first used in 2010 by the City Council to deal with the structural budget deficit;

-- respect mid-year budget amendments passed by the City Council;

-- publicly report performance results for core city services;

-- communicate in a timely and effective manner with the council, city attorney and independent budget analyst and make sure city contracts comply with the City Charter;

-- present the council each November with a five-year outlook for city income and expenses; and

-- work with the council to develop a comprehensive plan for economic growth.

Mayor Jerry Sanders, who is being termed out, said the current form of government was "the backbone'' for the city's turnaround from battling a structural budget deficit to enjoying a surplus. He listed a series of accomplishments, from building a new Central Library, voting to expand the San Diego Convention Center and reforming the retiree health program for city employees.

"None of this, and I mean none of this, would have happened if not for the collective ability to work together, and that's a credit to the entire council,'' Sanders said. "We might not always agree on details, but for the most part, we all see the big picture, which is putting our city back on a strong financial footing, restoring services, and revitalizing our neighborhoods.''

He said he hopes the cooperation remains after he leaves office in December.

DeMaio said the principles formalize procedures the council and the mayor have been developing over the last few years.