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San Diego expands Equity Office while facing hundreds of millions in deficits

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(The Center Square) – At a time when the city of San Diego is projecting deficits of more than $130 million plus in each of the next five years, it has expanded one of its newest departments – the Office of Equity.

The city of San Diego created the Office of Equity in 2020 but didn’t hire its first equity director until July 2021. By 2021, it had one employee – the department director and the total base payroll for the department was $57,600, according to city pay documents. By 2023, that department had grown to seven employees and the base payroll was $692,030. The base pay for the department director is listed at $227,640.

For 2025, the city budget is calling for adding 1.50 more full-time positions to make it 8.5 FTEs and increasing the general fund department budget from $1.57 million to $1.73 million.

The department will have three interns “create a historic timeline of institutional racism, implicit and explicit bias, inequity, and injustice that are embedded in structures of government” that would be used during training.

The city council received the budget update at its May 2 budget review meeting.

The city’s five-year outlook for fiscal years 2025 through 2029 project deficits ranging from $136.8 million to as high as $160.3 million.

The city’s Office of Equity didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.