You might have noticed the Union-Tribune editorial board swoop in today with an opinion about the burgeoning scandal over the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.
As president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., a redevelopment entity overseen by the City Council, Carolyn Smith has an annual salary of $158,000, as approved by the City Council. But what Mayor Sanders and the City Council didn’t know until this week was that Smith actually was collecting a paycheck of $206,328 — a whopping 31 percent more than her City Council-approved salary.
Smith doesn’t have, currently, a budgeted annual salary of $158,000. It’s actually much higher now. That was the 2005-2006 figure. The editorial board cribbed the numbers so fast they didn’t realize they were old.
Just a little thing, I suppose. Then the paper stumbled over itself to make the mayor look as good as possible in this situation:
To his credit, Mayor Sanders now is demanding straightforward salary disclosures from SEDC’s board chairman, Chip Owen.
Yes, the mayor does deserve credit for reacting so swiftly to the news broken this week by Will Carless that revealed all of this information. He and the City Council members who spoke out about it in Carless’ report — Kevin Faulconer, Donna Frye and Ben Hueso — all immediately recognized the significance of the facts his investigation revealed. Their colleagues, on the other hand, weren’t so perceptive. Or they have long since checked out.
But the mayor and council were reacting. As the U- T stumbled through a recounting of the facts that so incensed Mayor Jerry Sanders, they also pushed away the uncomfortable reality about how this information got to him.