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Executive Director Recruitment


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

Vea esta página en español.

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 2018, SANDAG has a staff of approximately 370 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.

Recruitment Subcommittee

In conjunction with unanimously voting to hire an executive search firm to conduct a nationwide recruitment of a new executive director in September 2017, the Board of Directors appointed a subcommittee, led by SANDAG Chair and Del Mar Councilmember Terry Sinnott, to 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
• Central San Diego – Mayor Kevin Faulconer
• County of San Diego – Supervisor Greg Cox

Executive Search Firm Selection

On December 1, 2017, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved the award of a contract to CPS HR Consulting. CPS HR was recommended by the Recruitment Subcommittee following a competitive selection process.

SANDAG released a request for proposals seeking executive search services on October 3. Proposals from 13 firms were received by the October 16 due date and were reviewed by the subcommittee. Interviews with the two finalist firms were held on November 17 and the subcommittee unanimously recommended CPS HR Consulting.

The subcommittee began work with CPS HR in mid-December 2017.

Community Engagement

Public involvement is an important part of the SANDAG Executive Director recruitment and CPS HR, with input from the subcommittee, conducted a robust bilingual outreach and communication plan for stakeholders to provide input on the types of responsibilities, knowledge, experience, and leadership style the Board could consider when selecting a new Executive Director.

CPS HR held five subregional community meetings in January 2018 and the SANDAG Board of Directors received public comments during their meeting on Friday, January 12. Feedback on the Executive Director position also was gathered through a brief survey.

CPS HR presented a summary of stakeholder and community engagement at the SANDAG Board Retreat on February 9, and incorporated community feedback into the recruitment brochure used to advertise the position.

Recruitment Schedule

After considering candidates who applied for the Executive Director position when the recruitment was initiated in early 2018, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved re-opening the recruitment at their meeting on Friday, May 11, 2018. The Recruitment Subcommittee conducted short-list interviews with additional candidates who applied for the position on Friday, July 27 and finalist interviews with the full Board of Directors were held on Friday, August 17 in closed session. The Board is expected to take its next steps regarding the recruitment In September; more information about the selection and announcement of a new Executive Director is expected in fall 2018.


Summary of Stakeholder and Community Engagement Activities (includes revised position description)

Recruitment Brochure: SANDAG Executive Director

Flier: January 2018 Community Engagement Meetings

January 12, 2018, SANDAG Board of Directors Report: Executive Director Recruitment – Work Plan and Community Engagement

December 1, 2017, SANDAG Board of Directors Report: SANDAG Executive Director Recruitment

October 3, 2017: RFP for Executive Search Services

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

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