Update: Mayor's office claims reports Gavin Newsom will allow Kamala Harris to name own successor not entirely accurate
Reports that Mayor Gavin Newsom has decided to let District Attorney Kamala Harris name her own replacement came as a surprise to Harris' own communications department, who told SF Weekly "that's news to me."
Harris will ascend to the state Attorney General's spot on Jan. 3; whom she will tab to replace her is not yet known. Messages for her campaign staff were not returned. Messages to Newsom's office querying when the mayor informed Harris of this decision, why he opted to cede this responsibility to her, and asking whether the mayor and DA had discussed the matter have not yet been returned either.
A call to declared DA candidate Paul Henderson, an assistant district attorney, has not been returned. The only other candidate, former police commissioner David Onek, a law lecturer, told SF Weekly this was the first he was hearing of this new wrinkle in the succession process.
"My head, like everyone else's, is spinning from all the talk of the mayor and the DA," he said. Onek added that he'd take the job if offered it "but I'm focused on November of 2011. Like everyone else, I've heard a million things. But the one thing I do know is there's gonna be an election in November of 2011."
Should Harris leave her office prior to Jan. 3, Newsom would be able to name her successor. Should she wait until next year to leave, however, whomever succeeds Newsom will likely be tasked with filling the post.
While Newsom has purportedly stated he'd like Harris to take responsibility for naming her own replacement, it warrants mentioning that only the mayor may officially make the call. And the mayor -- and certainly not the next mayor -- is not bound by Harris' decision. So it stands to reason that, unless Harris resigns as district attorney prior to Newsom leaving office, the decision on who will be San Francisco's next top cop will fall to an as-yet undetermined mayor.
This story has been edited since its first publication
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