cityhall3.jpgFor the fourth week in a row, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors today agreed not to take nominations for an interim mayor to replace Lt. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom next month.

Newsom is expected to leave his post as mayor and become second-in-command of the state on Jan. 3, though he has allowed for the possibility of briefly delaying his inauguration to allow the next Board of Supervisors to make the selection.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who offered a similar motion to postpone the issue last week, said today that to “have three weeks to have someone just floating out there…is not in our best interests.”

With the next election for San Francisco mayor not coming until November 2011, there has been much speculation about who the board will choose to lead the city in the interim.

In recent weeks, the board has developed a process for selecting nominees but has not taken any action. If it does, the nominee wouldn’t be able to assume office until after Newsom leaves.

However, some supervisors have suggested the need for a transition process, as the incoming mayor will be faced with a projected $380 million deficit for the coming fiscal year.

Supervisor Chris Daly, who spoke out against the delay in selecting a nominee last week, again voiced his displeasure today.

“It’s like deja vu all over again,” Daly said, adding that any further postponement was an “incredible disservice” to the city.

“At a certain point we need to be putting forward a vision for San Francisco,” he said.

Daly, who is one of four supervisors leaving office next month, called on his fellow board members to share their intentions and input on the process with the public. He then delivered a scolding that was met with silence from the rest of the board.

“It’s almost as if the members of this board don’t even want to be here,” Daly said. “Well if you don’t want to be here, you can leave. If you want to engage in the work at hand…if you want to talk about the future of this city, then please say something, and not just, ‘We’re gonna punt, on second down.'”

The board ultimately voted 8-3 to continue the item to the final meeting of the current board on Jan. 4.

Daly and supervisors David Campos and Ross Mirkarimi voted against the continuance.
Following the meeting, Supervisor John Avalos said the reason for the postponement was because there was no consensus among board members for a candidate for interim mayor.

“There’s no one to vote for yet,” Avalos said.

The unusual process of choosing a mayoral replacement is fraught with complexities.

After Newsom leaves office, the president of the board, currently Supervisor David Chiu, automatically becomes acting mayor. The board can then select an interim mayor to take over until the next election. A nominee requires at least six votes from the board to be selected as interim mayor, and board members cannot vote for themselves.

If the board chooses not to select an interim mayor, then the president of the board would stay acting mayor and retain both posts. The incoming board can also choose to select a new board president to replace Chiu.

Four newly elected supervisors will join the 11-member body on Jan. 8 to form a group that is considered slightly more moderate than the current progressive-dominated board.
Newsom, also a moderate, has said he might consider a delay in leaving his post as mayor in order to prevent the appointment of a “radical” interim mayor.

Another possible reason for a delay would be to wait until San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, recently elected attorney general of California, leaves her post on Jan. 3.
Whoever is mayor would be responsible for selecting her replacement for district attorney.

While an interim mayor would be able to run for a four-year mayoral term in November, some have called for a “caretaker” who would pledge not to run for the office.

Ari Burack, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!