Frustrated by what one councilman called "a total lack of responsibility" by the Glendale Junior Chamber of Commerce in planning the annual Days of the Verdugos Parade, the Glendale City Council last week refused to release funds to help pay for this year's event.
The parade, scheduled for Oct. 17, would mark Glendale's 80th anniversary. But officials said that, without financing, the parade may have to be canceled for the first time in 38 years.
Council members said the Jaycees in recent years have shown a lack of dedication and responsibility in organizing the parade, which traditionally kicks off a weeklong celebration commemorating the founding of the community and honoring its first settler, Don Jose Maria Verdugo. The parade has been held every year since 1938, except for a hiatus brought on by World War II from 1941 to 1947.
Jaycees Miss Meeting
When officers of the Jaycees failed to heed a council request to appear at a hearing Aug. 5, several council members said, they lost patience and would not allocate funds needed to produce the parade.
The president of the Glendale Jaycees explained that the organization missed the meeting because of a "communications foul-up."
In the past, city officials have criticized the organization for several problems, including failing to properly publicize the parade.
"It is very difficult for me to continue to be patient with the Junior Chamber of Commerce," Councilman John F. Day said. "They have become a constant source of irritation and worry to me." He said the Jaycees are young adults who aspire to run city government, but "they can't even run a parade."
In an interview this week, Day said his criticisms were based on "a whole series of similar problems in the past" when the organization failed to provide information requested by the council.
"There have been a number of instances of non-responses," Day said, explaining that the Jaycees often request city financing for community-service programs.
The Junior Chamber of Commerce is a civic-service organization for people from 18 to 35 years old that provides leadership training through active participation in the community.
Day said the nature of the group itself may be the reason for its apparent disorganization.
"They don't have a staff like the Chamber of Commerce does," he said. "They are young people working for a living and trying to scrape up the time to do community-service work. Maybe a group like that can't be organized," he said.
Day said he worries about the parade every year because of the apparent lack of organization, but, he acknowledged, "It always works out fine."
Asks for Second Chance
William 0'Brien, Glendale Jaycees president, last week asked Mayor Larry Zarian for a second chance. The mayor agreed to re-schedule the matter for discussion at the Aug. 26 council meeting.
At its Aug. 5 meeting, the City Council was to address the group's request for $12,500, an amount reserved by the city annually in its budget to support the Jaycees-sponsored parade. But no member of the Jaycees attended the meeting--the second time the group has missed an appointment with the city.
In May, representatives of the Jaycees failed to attend the council's annual budget hearing. They had been asked to explain how funds for the parade would be spent this year. The council set aside funds for the parade but did not authorize spending the money until the Jaycees provided the requested information.
Councilman Jerold F. Milner said the Jaycees were notified of the meeting at least twice. "The parade should be enough of a concern and a commitment for them to be here," he said.
'Lack of Responsibility'
Milner accused the Jaycees of demonstrating "a total lack of responsibility." He said that, if the parade is not held this year, "it's their fault, not mine."
In an interview later, Milner said he is "not going to give $12,000 to someone who doesn't ask for it."
Mayor Zarian defended the organization, pointing out that most of the City Council members were once Jaycees. He said the city has always had a parade and that it would be a shame if it were canceled.
O'Brien said in an interview last week that he never received notification from the city to appear at the council meeting because of a "communications foul-up." He met last week with Mayor Zarian to discuss the Jaycees' problems and to explain the missed meeting.
Apology Is Offered
"We hope that the city will accept our apology for not having attended the prior meeting and will look at the parade on its merits . . . and agree that it is an event that is worth having and worth funding," O'Brien said.
"Clearly, the parade as it's normally run cannot go on without the city's support."
O'Brien said the Junior Chamber of Commerce elects new officers and committee chairmen each May and that volunteers new to the job "occasionally make mistakes."
But, he said, the Jaycees "have proven over many years of successful performance that we are capable of doing the job."