The San Diego Association of Governments Board of Directors Friday approved the framework of an Audit Committee, as called for in state legislation designed to overhaul the troubled regional planning agency.
The bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, changed the way the board conducts its votes and called for creation of an Audit Committee that would retain a firm to create annual financial statements and hire an auditor to conduct performance audits and investigate claims of fraud and waste.
In response, the SANDAG board approved a policy that includes the criteria to be used to select members of the committee, which will consist of two SANDAG directors and three members of the public, agency spokeswoman Jessica Gonzales said. The directors are elected officials from the various municipalities in the area, along with the county government.
Del Mar Mayor Terry Sinnott, named SANDAG chairman in a separate action Friday, will recommend the two directors for the committee. An application is being developed for the public members.
SANDAG aims to seat the committee members in March and conduct its first meeting in April, according to Gonzales.
The agency is trying to recover from a scandal in which an economic modeling error caused it to overstate the projected revenues from last year’s Measure A, which would have raised the countywide sales tax by a half-cent in order to pay for transportation and environmental improvements. Staff became aware of the problem before November’s election, but failed to inform board members or the public.
The measure fell short of the two-thirds necessary for passage.
Longtime SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos resigned shortly after the release of a scathing report from an Orange County law firm commissioned by the agency that 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.
—City News Service
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