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Mayor Selects Eric K. Dargan to Serve as City’s New Chief Operating Officer


Thursday, July 28, 2022


SAN DIEGO – Following a national search that fielded nearly 200 candidates, Mayor Todd Gloria announced today that he has selected Eric K. Dargan to serve as the City’s new, permanent Chief Operating Officer. Dargan currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Houston Public Works Department and will take the reins of City operations to carry out Mayor Gloria’s ambitious plans to invest in infrastructure, increase San Diego’s housing supply and improve services for residents across San Diego.

“I’m proud and excited to name Eric as the City of San Diego’s next Chief Operating Officer, where his skills and experience will be put to great use as we continue the work to make our city function better at every level,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “Eric is a true public servant who is ready to tackle our big challenges from building more housing and addressing homelessness to fixing our city’s crumbling infrastructure. I am confident Eric will help drive change at the City and lead our mission to make San Diego not just a fine city, but a truly great city.”

Dargan brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having served the city of Houston for more than 20 years. As COO of Public Works for America’s fourth-largest city, Dargan oversees the city’s Water, Transportation and Drainage Operations, Permitting Center, Customer Account Services and Capital Projects. He’s responsible for the safe operating condition of the city’s streets, bridges, drainage ditches, water, sewer and stormwater facilities, as well as permitting and billing.

"I’m honored to have been selected to help Mayor Todd Gloria carry out his big plans for this beautiful city,” Eric Dargan said. “I have a genuine passion for tackling significant challenges and making municipal operations as effective as possible for the people they serve. I look forward to bringing that passion to the City of San Diego."

An Arkansas native, Dargan attended college in Texas, earning his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Prairie View A&M University. He went on to earn his masters of science in electrical engineering at Michigan State University in 1991. While working at the City of Houston, Dargan received a Certified Public Manager accreditation through Sam Houston State University in 2007.

Dargan began his professional career with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, now AT&T, where he spent 9 years and served as Director of telephone installation and repair in the Houston Region. During his career with Southwestern Bell, he also spent time in the U.S. Army, where he served for 10 years – two years as a lieutenant on active duty and eight years in the National Guard, reaching the rank of captain and serving as company commander in the 136th Signal Corps.

Dargan is involved with numerous professional organizations including the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, American Public Works Association and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He currently serves on advisory boards for Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M and Wharton County Junior College.

Among the numerous public service awards throughout his career, Dargan received the 2022 Public Works Leader of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association Texas Chapter; the American Society for Public Administrators’ 2020 Public Interface Award; and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators’ 2017 Public Servant of the Year award.

Dargan will take over as Chief Operating Officer from Jay Goldstone, whom Mayor Gloria appointed as interim COO while the City conducted a national search for a permanent COO. Goldstone’s prior experience leading the City through the challenging aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and pension underfunding scandal prepared him to help stabilize the City amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a host of critical issues that had to be immediately addressed when Mayor Gloria took office.

“It has been a privilege to serve Mayor Gloria as his Chief Operating Officer and to help him tackle many big issues the City faces,” current COO Jay Goldstone said. “I wish Eric all of the best in his role as Chief Operating Officer and know that his experience running a large Public Works Department will serve the City well.”

“I’m incredibly grateful to have had Jay’s steady guidance and deep knowledge of the City’s operations, which ensured my administration could immediately begin delivering on San Diegans’ priorities while we sought a permanent COO,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “We’ve tackled a lot of difficult and important issues together over the past 19 months, and Jay always brought his ‘A’ game.”

The confirmation hearing for Dargan’s appointment as COO is scheduled for the City Council meeting on September 12. If confirmed, Dargan will begin service as COO on November 1.