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Culver City Council Divided Over Issue of Official on Visitors Bureau

February 06, 1986|JEFF BURBANK | Times Staff Writer

Culver City council members are split over whether their chief administrative officer should resign from the Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors. Two of them say the post may conflict with his work for the city.

The council asked Dale Jones, who has served as chief administrative officer since 1969, to sit on the bureau board three years ago to monitor its activities, including how it spends city money. The council also appointed Councilman Richard Brundo to the board.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau, a nonprofit group created by the council, receives $180,000 annually from the city to help promote Culver City as a site for conventions and tourism.

City Atty. Bert Glennon Jr. said that Jones' dual positions did not constitute a legal conflict because in writing the organization's bylaws, the council called for the chief administrative officer and one council member to sit on the board of directors.

"Whether Jones should leave the board is a policy decision by the council," Glennon said.

'Dual Relationship'

But Councilman Paul Jacobs said he is concerned about Jones' "dual relationship" with the board and the city and wants Jones to resign from the board. Jacobs said he decided to seek Jones' resignation at a Jan. 16 council meeting when the bureau asked the city to provide $8,750 for a study for a movie museum in Culver City. Jones recommended that the council approve the funds, which it did by a 3-2 vote.

Jacobs said that Jones' position on the visitor's bureau board could affect his recommendations to the council on funding and other board requests.

He said that Jones' advice "should have the appearance that it's objective and the best advice that we can get, and that's why I asked Dale to resign from the board. . . . To have him on the board of directors of an organization that was seeking money puts him in a very untenable position.

"I have no doubt . . . about his objectivity to make a decision, it's just that the appearance of conflict should be avoided when the decision is being made."

Jacobs said Councilman Brundo was in a different position because he is not part of the city staff. "I have no authority to advise council members what organizations they should join, but I have no hesitation to advise staff," Jacobs said.

Jones, who said he sees no conflict, said he objected to the appointment three years ago. "I mentioned that I didn't want to be put on the board in the first place," he said, "but the council (said) it would want the protection to see where their money is going."

Councilman Paul A. Netzel also said that it might be better for Jones, who is a voting member of the visitor's bureau board of directors, to resign.

"In retrospect, he may be too close to the process in giving the council advice," Netzel said.

Three council members, however, said that Jones should remain on the visitor's bureau board.

'Not in Conflict'

"He's not in conflict with anything since he was appointed (to the board) by the council," Mayor Richard M. Alexander said. "I don't see there being any risk of a conflict."

"He's the city's top administrator and deserves to be there as far as I'm concerned," said Councilman A. Ronald Perkins. "He knows how the council feels on various things and he's an extension of the council."

Brundo said that Jones would have recommended funding of the museum study even if he did not serve on the board.

"I think he is very capable to serve in both capacities," he said "The decision to fund the study was a council decision, not a staff decision."

Donald F. McIntyre, city manager of Pasadena who represents city managers in the California League of Cities, said the practice of appointing city managers to city boards and commissions is not unusual. He said he serves as liaison to the Pasadena City Council on a board that oversees the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"It's not done frequently, but probably more in other states than California," he said. "As long as the appointment is made publicly and as long as the meetings are open, I don't see anything wrong."

Jones was also a member of the Culver City Tournament of Roses Assn. when it asked for funds for the 1986 parade float.

Float Funds

The city last year approved up to $75,000 for the float association. Jones served as chairman of the group's art auction and float decorating committees. The association spent $55,000 on the float and recently repaid the city $20,000.

Jones said that while he served on the board and the association, the council did not consult him on whether to authorize the funds for the float.

"No advice was asked for," Jones said. "The City Council was the one that initially asked for the rose float. So when that matter came up I made no recommendation at all."

Jones said he may decide to appoint someone from his office or the city clerk's office to sit on the board in his place, though that too may be controversial, he said.

"The problem is if I resign, the person whom I appoint will be (the one) who will be making the recommendation to me and the council. So I'm between a rock and a hard spot."

But, he said, he would not make a decision for at least two more months because "it's just not a high priority for me right now."

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