Darren Pudgil, who has been the spokesman for such politicians as former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, former Congressman Brian Bilbray, and the chief of staff to County Supervisor Ron Roberts, is the new vice president of communications and public affairs for the San Diego Tourism Authority.

The nonprofit agency formerly called the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau was apparently looking for a longtime insider to avoid the kind of battle it just went through with Mayor Bob Filner over the spending of hotel taxes on a tourism marketing district including a $6 million advertising campaign.

Pudgil, who started the job this week, will oversee local media relations, community outreach and government affairs for the SDTA.

The SDTA also announced that Eric Lund, its vice president of membership, community relations, visitor and member services, is leaving that job, and taking over as general manager of the East County Chamber of Commerce. Lund replaces Scott Alevy, who left as chief executive officer of the organization in February.

Lund starts his new job in El Cajon May 15.

— Mike Allen