A planned June ballot measure that would allow Mayor Ed Lee to return to his former post as city administrator was quietly withdrawn this week.
When Lee was appointed interim mayor on Jan. 11 by the Board of Supervisors, it was known that a rule change on voter-approved post-employment restrictions would be necessary to let him to return to his post as city administrator, as he said he wants to do.
The current rule prohibits the mayor or members of the board from being appointed to full-time city jobs for one year after leaving their elected posts. The change would make an exception for someone who was appointed to fill a mayoral vacancy and did not file to run for election.
Six members of the Board of Supervisors, including board president David Chiu, who announced his run for mayor Monday, signed a document earlier this week withdrawing the measure from the June ballot.
The measure’s withdrawal was downplayed by Chiu’s legislative aide Judson True. He said the rule change will be made on a legislative basis by the Board of Supervisors and the Ethics Commission.
“Given the broad support for this narrowly crafted legislation, we fully expect it to get approved through the legislative process,” True said. “If not, it could always be placed on the November ballot.”
But Supervisor John Avalos said the planned ballot measure and its subsequent withdrawal were news to him.
Avalos said he felt “uncomfortable” about voting on the legislation. “I shouldn’t have to bend an ethics rule for him,” he said.
Avalos speculated that polling may have shown the proposed rule change would fail at the ballot.
Despite talk Lee would enter the mayor’s race if there was a groundswell of public support, Lee said he will not.
“Mayor Lee is looking forward to returning to his role as city administrator,” Lee’s spokeswoman, Christine Falvey, said. She said he is “not weighing in” on how the board proceeds with the rule change.