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Sanders proposes changes to development agreements

Mayor Jerry Sanders and two members of the City Council on Monday called for the entire council to approve changes to the city’s agreements with the Centre City Development Corp. and Southeastern Development Corp.

Sanders also wants to amend the organizations’ bylaws to avoid future improprieties.

The proposed changes will bring “heightened levels of oversight” to the quasi-independent redevelopment agencies, Sanders said at a news conference.

The CCDC and SEDC came under scrutiny in the past two years.

The former chief executive officer of the CCDC, which coordinates redevelopment projects downtown, resigned after allegations of conflict of interest regarding a building project. The leadership of the SEDC resigned following an audit that revealed numerous financial improprieties.

According to Sanders, the proposed changes will allow the mayor and City Council to suspend or terminate the heads of the agencies; allow the mayor to choose the agency president with approval of two-thirds of the City Council; allow council members to inspect agency financial records; allow the city to demand annual performance audits from the agencies; and require the agencies to adhere to city budget practices.

“This is a time for change and new beginnings,” said Councilman Tony Young, in whose district the SEDC operates.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer said the changes will enable the CCDC and SEDC to resume their “vital work.”

With the temporary heads of both agencies ready to move on, the changes will pave the way for permanent leaders to be hired, Faulconer said.