Mayor's appointment power in supes' crosshairs 

The attempt to chip away at the appointing power of the mayor — a movement that has been under way for years — could continue as a fight on the November ballot.

The mayor has sole appointing power for who serves on such city decision-making bodies like the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors and the Recreation and Park Commission.

But members of the Board of Supervisors are targeting that power. The board’s Rules Committee held a hearing Friday on one proposed charter amendment for the November ballot that would split up the appointing power of the Rec and Park Commission. The seven commissioners are appointed by the mayor. The 11-member board can reject an appointment with eight votes.

The charter amendment would change it so the mayor would appoint three, the Board of Supervisors three, and the mayor and the president of the Board of Supervisors jointly appoint one. Mayor Gavin Newsom opposes the measure.

It’s not the first time the board has attempted to erode the mayor’s appointing power. In June 2008, voters approved Proposition E, placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors, which changed the appointing rules making it easier for the Board of Supervisors to reject a mayoral nomination to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. A rejection now requires six votes, not eight.

This June, voters rejected a measure placed on the ballot by the board that would have split up the appointments of the Film Commission, 53 percent said no, while 46 percent voted in favor.

During the Friday hearing, Rec and Park Director Phil Ginsburg and Rec and Park Commission President Mark Buell slammed the proposed charter amendment.

“The divisive political fight over power and control will not staff our parks with gardeners, it will not staff our gyms and our fields with coaches, it will not maintain our pools and it will not build new trails in our natural areas,” Ginsburg said.

The split appointing structure already exists for some bodies, like the Police Commission and the Planning Commission.

“Split appointments have occurred already. The sky has not fallen,” Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

The amendments were made to the proposal and a vote was postponed, which is tentatively scheduled for Friday. It would ultimately take six votes by the full board to end up on the ballot.

Committee chair David Campos signaled his support.

“I recognize that we do have a strong mayor system,” Campos said. “But it’s not a monarchy.”

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