Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D), under fire for allegedly sexual harassing 18 women, has reportedly agreed to resign from office on Friday as part of a deal struck with city officials, according to the local NBC station.
A steady stream of new allegations have emerged over the past six weeks since the first woman, Filner's former communications director, came forward with a lawsuit accusing him of improper sexual advances. As more accusers emerged, Filner's hold on office became increasingly untenable, with national Democrats urging him to resign, and residents launching a recall effort to oust him themselves.
Filner was spotted loading boxes into an SUV outside City Hall Wednesday after several days of negotiations with city officials, and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith announced the same night that a deal had been reached. As part of the reported agreement — full details of which have not been disclosed — the city will cover part of Filner's legal fees in a lawsuit over his alleged misconduct in exchange for his resignation.
The City Council will meet Friday to vote on the deal. Every member of the council has previously called on Filner to resign.
The agreement would likely end the city's lawsuit against Filner, which sought to prevent him from recouping any money from San Diego for his legal expenses. And it could also involve a settlement in the mayor's sexual harassment suit, thus potentially ending all of his legal troubles.
Assuming the council members approve of the settlement, and Filner does indeed resign, that would negate the recall petition seeking to replace him at the ballot box as well. That effort just entered the signature-gathering phase, and would have dragged on to at least December, if not into 2014.
According to the local NBC affiliate, Council President Todd Gloria would assume the role of interim mayor in the wake of Filner's departure. Filner was elected last November, though, so the city would still need a longer-term solution.
San Diego's charter allows the City Council to either appoint a new mayor within 30 business days, or call for a special election. In the event of a special election, it would be held in November, accordion to the local ABC affiliate.
The latter approach seems the most likely. Aides to potential mayoral candidates were told Wednesday night to "expect a special election campaign to begin Saturday," according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.