Mayor Jerry Sanders Named Chamber CEO

The next step for the mayor will be promoting San Diego area business

Outgoing San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has been named the new CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“For me, given my work over the years to create jobs and grow our economy, working at the chamber is a very natural extension of the work we’ve done here and there’s certainly a lot of work to do,” Mayor Sanders said at the announcement of his new role Thursday.

Sanders said seeking improvement of cross-border commerce opportunities and managing the impact of sequestration are among the priorities he sees for the organization in the near future.

Sanders endorsed City Councilmember Carl DeMaio just before the November election.

When asked about how he intends to work with San Diego Mayor-Elect Bob Filner, Sanders said he's looking forward to developing a working relationship.

"Bob talked about opening up to everybody, that's certainly the way that I've tried to govern and I certainly work as well with other people as possible so I'm looking forward to establishing a closer relationship with the Mayor's Office," he said.

Sanders said his first day on the job should be December 4, the day after he steps down as mayor.

The decision was made by a five-member selection committee, chaired by Vincent Mudd, president and CEO of San Diego Office Interiors according to a chamber news release.

Prior to his election as San Diego Mayor in 2005, Sanders served as the chair of the San Diego chapter of the American Red Cross and ran the United Way. He also served as chief for the San Diego Police Department.

Throughout his two terms, Mayor Sanders managed a grim economic reality for the city when a loss of revenue from property taxes and sales taxes lead to hundreds of job cuts for city employees.

“By working together with the public and the city council, we’ve turned things around," Sanders said Thursday. “We’ve restored this city’s financial health and we’ve put San Diego on the path towards a brighter future.”

The Republican mayor made national news in 2010 when he campaigned in support of same-sex marriage.

He has also been a strong voice of support for Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama renovation and the building of a new city library in downtown as well as an expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.

In May, Sanders countered accusations that he was hiding a looming budget deficit in the midst of a mayoral campaign by releasing details of a $12 million budget surplus.

"Mayor Sanders has done a great job of running into a burning building, dealing with the mistakes of the past, and bringing us to a point where we are more structured," District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said of the mayor during her primary campaign.

In September, Mayor Sanders may have been preparing for his new role when he spoke at a job fair for a new meat processing plant in the South Bay.  Sanders said he was able to work with the Otay Chamber and others to keep Jensen Meats from building its new plant in Colorado.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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