San Diego Councilman demands transparency with Balboa Park transition director

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Councilman David Alvarez is demanding an explanation for the salary of the Balboa Park transition director.

Alvarez, who chairs the city's Environment Committee, requested a report be provided at Wednesday's meeting regarding the now defunct Balboa Park Celebration, Inc. and the $13,000-a-month salary that will be given to Gerry Braun, who was named the transition director for the park's centennial celebration.

Braun previously served as the BPCI's chief executive officer.

A spokeswoman for the Councilman said Braun and BPCI co-chair Nikki Clay said they were unavailable to attend the meeting. Other board members of the disbanded planning group did not respond to the Councilman's invitation.

"I have not been provided any information, specifically regarding the extremely high payment made to the CEO during this transitionary period," stated Alvarez. "This lack of transparency and accountability is the reason why I am asking for an update to be provided by the Mayor's office and any board members at my committee tomorrow."

In a statement, Braun said his contract was approved by the Executive Committee and that his salary wasn't changed.

"My goal is to help the City succeed where BPCI could not," he stated. "San Diegans love Balboa Park and deserve a celebration worthy of this great civic treasure."

BPCI co-chair Ben Clay also defended Braun and his salary.

"Mr. Braun is shouldering enormous responsibility in ensuring an efficient and legal wind-down of a California non-profit corporation, and completing the proper transfer of our records to the city's satisfaction," he stated. "In just two weeks, Mr. Braun has already saved BPCI more money than he'll be paid. We think we're getting a good deal."

BPCI was formed in 2011 to organize a yearlong celebration at Balboa Park in honor of its 100th anniversary.

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