San Diego

Embattled SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos to Resign as Early as Friday

The announcement comes amid recent scandal at the agency.

The embattled leader of San Diego's Regional Planning Agency, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), will resign as early as Friday, pushing up the previously-announced retirement by several months. 

Gary Gallegos submitted a letter of resignation effective Friday, SANDAG Chairman Ron Roberts said. The SANDAG Executive Committee will accept that resignation on Friday. 

The embattled leader initially said he would resign at the end of the calendar year, an announcement that came amid recent scandal at the agency.

In his letter of resignation, Gallegos wrote that he wanted to retire as soon as possible to help the Board of Directors focus on the future. 

"The region is facing change and that change is going to require new leadership to build consensus and position San Diego to take advantage of future opportunities," he wrote. 

SANDAG came under fire after an independent investigation found the agency showed a "severe lack of judgment" in responding to staff concerns about "Measure A" revenue projections.

The independent investigation Gallegos referenced came after a series of revelations from Voice of San Diego that the staff knew revenue forecasts were incorrect months before their Measure A was put on the ballot. But SANDAG went forward with the incorrect projection anyway.

Measure A was a proposed half-cent tax for a period of 40 years. According to the measure, a portion of the funds raised would have gone to specific transit projects throughout the county.

The report also said there was no intent to mislead the public.

In emails sent to NBC 7 Investigates and the Voice of San Diego, board members said they were not informed of errors in the agency’s economic forecast, which were used to create revenue expectations for both Measure A and the agency’s existing sales tax, 

For more information about that, read the NBC 7 Investigates story here.

The report led to calls, by some, saying Gallegos should resign. He has overseen the agency since 2001.

Gallegos told the Union-Tribune that his retirement had been in the works for a while, and stepping down gives others the chance to lead. 

The goals he set out to achieve have now been achieved, Gallegos said in a previous statement.  

“Moving forward, with the Board’s support my intention is to work hard at keeping this organization focused on all of our very important initiatives and give the Board of Directors time to consider next steps,” Gallegos said.

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