With jobs on line, mayor waits

The clock is ticking for Mayor Gavin Newsom to accept any of the hundreds of resignation letters he asked City Hall heads and commissioners to submit, dated Monday, Jan. 7.

The mayor made the request in September, saying that he wanted the opportunity to start his second term with a clean slate, and promising “a lot of changes.” In a Sept. 18 letter to department heads, commissioners and his senior staff, Newsom wrote that the offers to resign would only be effective if he accepts.

“If I do accept your offer, your resignation will be effective close of business January 7, 2008,” Newsom added.

So far, however, there has been little news to indicate the mass shakeup Newsom hinted at in the fall.

Gregg Fortner, the former director of the San Francisco Housing Authority, and Virginia Harmon, the former executive director of the City Human Rights Commission, both resigned in September after Newsom requested the offers.

Since then, there have been rumors and scattered reports in City Hall circles about whom Newsom would ask to leave, involving such officials as San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Susan Leal, Port Executive Director Monique Moyer, Recreation and Parks chief Yomi Agunbiade and police Chief Heather Fong.

“The mayor will be making final decisions about the resignations in short order,” Newsom spokesperson Nathan Ballard said on Monday. “He has been reviewing each tendered resignation on a case-by-case basis and will be making final decisions next week.”

“Announcements will be occurring soon,” Ballard said.

Members of the Board of Supervisors said they were in the dark concerning whose resignation offer Newsom might accept, but they did believe he would take up some offers.

Where any changes would be made was difficult to know, said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. “But change is definitely needed in some sectors.”

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who Newsom appointed to the District 2 seat in 2004 after he was elected, said while requests for offers of resignation are something “typically” done when a mayor comes into office, the blanket request for offers of resignation was likely not a route she would have taken.

“I am of the belief [that] when you know who you want to leave then you let them go,” she said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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