The San Diego City Council on Sept. 27 unanimously voted to authorize City Attorney Michael Aguirre to begin negotiations with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to Aguirre, this could bring to a close the federal agency’s 19-month investigation of the city’s securities disclosure practices.
The council also authorized the city’s outside law firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, to work with Aguirre in the negotiations.
“I appreciate the fact that the deputy mayor and City Council have recognized the importance of taking this essential step toward resolving the city’s issues with the SEC,” said Aguirre. “I intend to base our discussion on the draft agreement that I released to the public last week.”
The draft agreement, which separates the city from any alleged wrongdoing by city officials, recognizes steps that the city has taken and calls for additional reforms to be supervised by the SEC, according to Aguirre.
Aguirre’s decision to go public with the document last week drew criticism from both Deputy Mayor Toni Atkins and City Councilman Jim Madaffer, who said at the time, “For the city attorney to insist on acting on his own in this regard, without seeking the advice and counsel of those more experienced in these matters, does not serve the city’s best interests.”
Following the City Council’s action Sept. 27, Atkins explained that it did not “specifically approve the document, but rather approved the process, adding that any settlement would have to the approved by the City Council.
“I was pleased to hear the city attorney say that he is going to reach out to the Audit Committee and work with them on their investigation,” said Atkins. “It’s important to coordinate the conclusion of the Audit Committee’s investigation and any negotiated settlement with the SEC.
“Hopefully, this will usher in an era of cooperation among the city attorney, the City Council and the Audit Committee, and usher out the era of conflict and confrontation that has existed.”