Daly urges officials to spurn Newsom’s request

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s political nemesis is calling on hundreds of city commissioners and department heads to defy their boss and reject his request that they voluntarily submit letters of resignation.

“I would strongly encourage you to consider first your calling to service and responsibility to the people of your city,” Supervisor Chris Daly said in a letter sent one day after Newsom made his request. “Your resignation should only be forced for cause or if the call is coming from the people of our city.”

On Monday, Newsom told The Examiner that he wanted the resignation letters in hand by Friday and dated for the end of his term on Jan. 7, 2008, to make it easier for him to make significant changes in his administration during his second term, if re-elected. Last week, Newsom also informed the 20 members of his senior staff that their jobs were not secure.

In his counter-letter, Daly said Newsom’s request smacked of the leadership of previous administrations, when commissioners, after making independent decisions that went afoul of the wishes of the mayor or other appointing city officials, were removed from their posts.

“I’m fearful of heading back to the Willie Brown years,” Daly told The Examiner.

There are 53 department heads and more than 300 commissioners. The offer of resignation would be operative upon Newsom’s acceptance.

The call for resignation letters follows meetings the mayor had last week with at least 14 of his department heads to discuss their City Hall futures, said sources close to the mayor who did not want to be named. The talks fueled rumors that Newsom plans to use the letters to push a select number of officials out of their jobs.

The mayor’s spokesperson, Nathan Ballard, said he planned to turn his letter in by the deadline, calling the task “a rare opportunity for members of the mayor’s team to show loyalty to Mayor Newsom’s innovative vision for this city.”

beslinger@examiner.com

Each day until voters go to the polls Nov. 6, The Examiner lays odds on local figures beating Mayor Gavin Newsom. Check out our exclusive blog: San Francisco's Next Mayor?

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