San Diego mayor grants millions in contracts without promised oversight

From Investigative Newsource:

With a unanimous vote on March 20, 2012, the City Council bulked up San Diego’s strong mayor form of government in a major way.

It gave the mayor’s office the sole authority to approve certain city contracts up to $30 million, many times higher than the spending thresholds of the county, the Port district, and the cities of Phoenix and San Jose combined. The strong mayor’sceiling used to be $1 million.

The whole point was to speed up capital improvement projects, like filling potholes and upgrading water mains. Between July 1 and Oct. 1, a total of ten projects for approximately $36 million were awarded under his new authority.

But the increased power was balanced by a commitment to greater accountability — a major component of which was a website, full of details for the public and the council to monitor contractors and costs.

That hasn’t happened, and city officials can’t say when it will.