Mayor Lee Facing 67 Commission Vacancies This Year

by Larry Bush on 02/08/2011

in Empty Chairs

New Mayor Ed Lee will signal with dozens of appointments to expired commission seats in the next few weeks whether he will fulfill the hopes of the backroom powerbrokers that brought him into office or take an independent course.

According to lists provided to Mayor Lee obtained by CitiReport, at issue are appointments to boards and commissions that approve contracts and permits worth hundreds of millions of dollars to developers and affordable housing nonprofits, and which set policy for renters, Muni riders, health programs, homeless programs, and the city’s implementation of the Sanctuary Law.

Currently expired seats on powerhouse commissions include two on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, two on the Health Commission, one on the Human Services Commission. In addition, former Mayor Newsom left 15 appointments unfilled as he left office.

During a term that will end in January 2012, Mayor Lee also will make appointments that can swing the majority on the Rent Board, Redevelopment, Building Inspection, Housing Authority and the Environment Commission as well as deciding on the potentially sensitive issue of reappointing Eleanor Johns to the Airport Commission.

Johns, the executive director of the Willie L. Brown Institute on Politics and Policy, served as Mayor Brown’s top aide while he was in City Hall and in Sacramento. Her husband, Richard Johns, was just appointed to the Historical Preservation Commission, resulting in a lawsuit being filed over his qualifications for the appointment.

Mayor Lee will also fill vacancies on commissions viewed as prestige seats because of the perks and privileges that come with them.  He faces expired terms for nine members of the Asian Art Museum Board, three vacancies on the Arts Commission, four on the Film Commission, four to the Golden Gate Park Concourse,

Here is the list of 2011 commission vacancies as well as a memo from Chief of Staff Steve Kawa to Mayor Lee outlining the appointments that need to be made by the end of March.

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