Friday, July 18, 2008

Calif. development agency officials award themselves generous bonuses

San Diego, Calif. - For several years, the president of the agency tasked with redeveloping some of San Diego's most blighted neighborhoods has been paying herself and her top deputy tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses and extra compensation unbeknownst to members of the City Council or the agency's board.

Carolyn Y. Smith, president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., and her top deputy, finance director Dante Dayacap, shared $77,276 in taxpayer-funded bonuses and additional compensation in fiscal year 2005-2006. That year, Smith reported to the City Council and SEDC's board that she would be paid a salary of between $130,000 and $160,000, but by the end of the year she had earned $206,328.

The additional pay for the government officials came to light following a review of SEDC's tax records, which revealed a complicated system of unsupervised payments for top SEDC officials that are not explained in its public budget. The officials regularly receive annual five-figure bonuses under payment programs overseen by Smith and vaguely titled "acknowledgement" and "cost of living."

In total, between fiscal years 2003-2004 and 2006-2007, SEDC's top four officials collectively received about $256,000 through the various bonus and extra compensation programs.

For more on this story, go to The Voice of San Diego

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