Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Ronne Froman, the former Navy admiral who was tapped to be Mayor Jerry Sanders’ second-in-charge from the early days of his campaign, is leaving the Mayor’s Office at the end of the month.
Sanders confirmed to voiceofsandiego.org Monday afternoon that his longtime friend and colleague would be departing City Hall, saying she had always planned to leave after two years. The mayor said his chief operating officer informed him a couple of months ago that she would be leaving upon the conclusion of this year’s budget.
There have also been enduring reports of friction between Froman and the other side of the mayor’s leadership team, Kris Michell, legislative affairs director, and Fred Sainz, communications director.
Sanders said he didn’t think Froman’s departure had anything to do with internal issues. “She told me all along: two years,” the mayor said.
Froman essentially served as Sanders’ running mate in the 2005 special election, a play that allowed the now-mayor to cash in on the former Navy admiral’s sizable political capital among the region’s business and political elite. Upon Sanders’ election, Froman oversaw his transition team and has since served as his second-in-charge as chief operating officer.
In that role, Froman has been central to the effort to fix City Hall’s vast financial woes through a streamlining push known as business process reengineering. The process has been credited for Sanders’ claim this year that he can begin paying down the city’s many long-term liabilities without axing city services such as parks and libraries.
“Doing this kind of change at any organization is kind of hard. It’s been a heck of a couple of years,” Froman said in an interview. “I knew this was going to be hard. I knew that when I started. I think it’s time for a break.”
The mayor said Froman has laid the foundation for his financial-recovery efforts. “She’s been a tremendous partner for these last two years. Ronne could’ve stayed as long as she wanted,” he said.
Sanders knew Froman from his time as police chief, when Froman served as San Diego’s “Navy mayor.” Froman also served as the chief executive officer for the local chapter of the American Red Cross when Sanders served on the board.
But she was virtually invisible to the public eye under Sanders. Despite the fact that her name was dropped regularly at campaign events, she rarely did media interviews and stayed behind the scenes.
Froman’s last day will be June 29. Chief Financial Officer Jay Goldstone has been named the interim chief operating officer.