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Lightner to lead review of City Council committees

SherriLightner

SAN DIEGO — A review of the San Diego City Council’s committee structure began Wednesday as part of an effort to modernize a decades-old system to make sure the panels fit the priorities of San Diego’s elected officials.

Councilman Todd Gloria called for the six-month study when he became council president last month. Councilwoman Sherri Lightner will lead the effort as head of the Rules and Economic Development Committee.

“Some committee responsibilities overlap, while at other times responsibilities might not be fully captured in the committee’s area of jurisdiction,” Lightner said. “The overall intent of this project is to ensure that our council committees continue to reflect the top policy priorities of the council, and are administered to reflect best practices.”

Most legislation in San Diego is first considered at the committee level before it goes to the full City Council. The committees generally meet Wednesdays, though a couple gather on Mondays.

Last month, council members combined two panels to form the Rules and Economic Development Committee. They also formed a new committee to address infrastructure.

The others are Audit, Budget, Land Use and Housing, Natural Resources and Culture, and Public Safety and Neighborhood Services.

Besides looking at committees, Lightner and Councilwoman Marti Emerald suggested the study also encompass city boards and commissions to make sure they have the right ones and whether their leaders should issue reports to the City Council.

Some boards haven’t met in months because they don’t have enough members for a quorum and might not be addressing the priorities of council members, Lightner said.

Emerald said the City Council appoints members of the panels “with pomp and circumstance” and sometimes never hear back from them.

Gloria’s office told City News Service that the council president did not request an examination of boards and commissions to be included, so it’s unknown whether it would actually happen.

Lightner called for the Independent Budget Analyst to issue a preliminary report next month.