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SANDAG Approves Gallegos' Request To Resign Immediately

SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos speaks at the agency's downtown San Diego headquarters, Jan. 21, 2016.
Andrew Bowen
SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos speaks at the agency's downtown San Diego headquarters, Jan. 21, 2016.

UPDATED: 1:20 p.m., Aug. 18, 2017

A request by the San Diego Association of Governments' embattled outgoing executive director to resign immediately rather than wait out a four-month notice period was approved today by the agency's Executive Committee.

The embattled Gallegos announced his intention to resign last week. This Monday, however, he requested a waiver of a provision in his employment contract that he would give 120 days notice of a resignation.


The vote to approve his request was 5-1, with National City Mayor Ron Morrison casting the lone "no" vote. The discussion and vote took place in closed session.

RELATED: Investigation Details How SANDAG Pushed Boundaries Of Public Records Law

SANDAG's board policy allows the executive committee to act on behalf of the full board "when timing requires." The agency's bylaws also state: "Closed session items should be heard by the Board of Directors unless timeliness requires consideration by the Executive Committee."

Kim Kawada, SANDAG's chief deputy executive director will lead the organization on an interim basis.

"Gary Gallegos' departure from SANDAG is a big loss for our region, but his decision to step down will allow the board to move forward with enhancing our regional mobility future," said SANDAG Chairman Ron Roberts, a county supervisor.


SANDAG has come under intense criticism since it was learned that staff knew of faulty revenue projections associated with Measure A, a proposition to raise the countywide sales tax by a half-cent to fund transportation and environmental projects, but failed to inform board members or the public before the vote.

Measure A fell short of the two-thirds support necessary for passage in last November's election.

A recent investigation by an Orange County law firm commissioned by SANDAG primarily delved into details of the failed economic forecast but also found that agency executives ordered the deletion of documents related to the issue that were less than 60 days old.

"Gary's resignation, while difficult, provides an opportunity to continue the internal transformation that the independent examination recommended," Roberts said. "We will now begin a search for an executive director to lead the agency and instill new processes to ensure transparency."

SANDAG is also the subject of state legislation that would modify certain governance procedures.