FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 22, 2021
SAN DIEGO – In keeping with his commitment to increase equity and inclusion within the City of San Diego and bring more voices to the table at City Hall, Mayor Todd Gloria highlighted today a dramatic increase in the diversity of appointments, particularly adding more women and people of color to City boards and commissions. In addition, Mayor Gloria encouraged more residents to apply to serve on City boards and commissions.
“The volunteers who make up San Diego’s boards and commissions play a critical role in helping local government better respond to the needs of its residents,” Mayor Gloria said. “Filling these key seats with constituents who come from an array of ages, backgrounds and ethnicities brings their lived experiences and expertise to the table. I encourage San Diegans who are interested in making their voices heard apply for the variety of vacant positions we have and help us make San Diego a better city for all of us.”
To date, 70% of Mayor Gloria’s appointments are people of color and 50% are women. Several of his appointees have made history on their boards or commissions as the first ever to serve in their roles.
Some of the highlights of Mayor Gloria’s appointments since he took office in December include:
- Increasing representation of women by 50%;
- Appointing the first Black Somali refugee to the San Diego County Water Authority;
- Appointing the youngest person to ever to sit on the San Diego County Water Authority;
- Appointing the first person from Council District 4 in 20 years to the Planning Commission; and,
- Appointing two Black women, and a member of the Asian Pacific-Islander community, to the City’s Employee Retirement System Board of Administrators.
“The City Council wants input from people across San Diego who reflect the great diversity of our neighborhoods. Too many people have historically been excluded from these opportunities,” said Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn. “The Mayor is giving many more residents a voice in our City government by appointing such a well-rounded group of new commissioners and board members. I hope this will encourage more San Diegans to join us and use their skills and experience to serve our city.”
Additionally, the City has launched a new user-friendly website designed to allow residents to more easily review vacancies and position expiration dates as well as apply for open positions. The tool will allow City staff to receive and manage applications online, track membership over time and across boards, generate reports related to term expirations and vacancies, and securely store and manage membership data. The website can be accessed at https://onboard.sandiego.gov/.
“Participation in local government is key to a healthy democracy. As the City Clerk – a neutral guardian of process – enhancing access by increasing transparency is a central part of my job,” said City Clerk Elizabeth Maland. “Individuals can’t participate in government unless they know the full range of opportunities that exist. OnBoard and our new boards and commissions management system allow stakeholders to run reports, track vacancies, and anticipate term expiration dates."
The Office of Boards and Commissions was established in 2018 in response to a 2017 audit that revealed numerous expired terms and mass vacancies, which hampered the ability of boards and commissions to establish quorums to conduct business. Community members also criticized the lack of diversity amongst appointments.
Under Mayor Gloria’s administration, the office has successfully begun to diversify seats, implement necessary procedures that streamline the appointment process, made applying for a seat less cumbersome, and made progress on clearing appointment backlogs.
“As a newly appointed member of the Human Relations Commission, it is exciting to see initiatives like the creation of the Office of Race and Equity as well as the Office of Child and Youth Success come to life. These are items the HRC has been actively advocating for and directly align with the Human Relations Commission’s mission of fostering an environment of understanding, respect, and inclusion amongst all San Diegans,” said City Human Relations Commissioner Tyler Duncan. “I encourage anyone who cares about our city the way I do, to get involved, represent your community, and advance your purpose by serving on a board or commission.”
"As a refugee living in a city enriched by many generations of immigrants and refugees, I see community service as an investment in our current and future generations," said Louie Nguyen, the Chief Investment Officer at Mission Driven Finance and Mayoral appointee to the San Diego City Employees Retirement System Board of Administration. “The current set of appointees under Mayor Gloria prioritizes myriad lived experiences, a group I am proud to be a part of. Having a diverse group of residents join a board or commission is a great way to ensure our city's makeup is reflected in the city's important decision-making positions.”
As part of his announcement today, Mayor Gloria encouraged San Diegans to apply to serve on City boards and commissions as his administration continues to revitalize and expand advisory groups.