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Executive Director Recruitment

The SANDAG Board has launched a nationwide search for a new executive director to lead the agency.


The SANDAG Board of Directors has launched a nationwide search for a new executive director to lead the agency.

As the region’s council of governments, SANDAG has many responsibilities. Working with agency partners such as the California Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transit System, and the North County Transit District, SANDAG oversees planning and development of major transportation infrastructure throughout the region. The agency also provides a wide array of services throughout the region, ranging from aggregating and analyzing crime statistics to helping local jurisdictions with climate change planning.

As of 2017, SANDAG has a staff of approximately 350 people and a $1.3 billion annual budget. The executive director reports to a Board of Directors composed of 21 elected officials (two each from the County Board of Supervisors and the San Diego City Council, as well as one each from the city councils of the region’s other 17 city governments).

Former SANDAG executive director Gary Gallegos, who had led the agency since 2001, retired in August 2017.

Executive Search Firm

In September 2017, the SANDAG Board of Directors voted unanimously to hire an executive search firm to conduct a nationwide recruitment of a new executive director. The selected firm will seek out candidates, interact with the Board, and gather input from stakeholders.

A Board subcommittee, led by SANDAG Vice Chair and Del Mar Mayor Terry Sinnott, will work directly with the executive search firm to manage the recruitment and bring candidate recommendations to the full SANDAG Board. The other subcommittee members are from the six subregions of the county:

  • North County Coastal – Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear
  • North County Inland – Escondido Mayor Sam Abed
  • East County – Santee Mayor John Minto
  • South County – Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas
  • City of San Diego – Mayor Kevin Faulconer
  • County of San Diego – Supervisor Greg Cox

  • SANDAG released a request for proposals seeking executive search services on October 3. Proposals were due on October 16 and have been reviewed by the subcommittee. Interviews with the two finalist firms are scheduled for mid-November.

    Additional Resources

    SANDAG press release: SANDAG takes crucial steps to move forward (August 18, 2017)

    September 8, 2017, SANDAG Board of Directors Report: SANDAG Executive Director

    RFP for Executive Search Services (October 3, 2017)