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City to Pay for Renovation of Official's Home : Government: Council will solicit bids for expansion of a city-owned residence used by urban development chief Carl Burnett. It's one of eight houses leased in a similar fashion.

March 01, 1992|ROBERT MORAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CITY OF INDUSTRY — A City of Industry official who lives in a 1,800-square-foot city-owned house on a gated private road is getting a new family room, complete with fireplace and bookshelves, paid for by the city, construction plans show.

The City Council last week unanimously approved advertising for construction bids on a room addition for Carl Burnett, executive director of the Industry Urban-Development Agency. Burnett lives in a city-owned house in the Industry Hills area.

A similar addition is being built on a neighboring city-owned home that apparently is vacant.

The cost of the improvements to the homes is estimated at $115,000, City Engineer John Ballas said during Thursday's meeting. The two homes are among eight nestled on the north side of the Industry Hills resort complex and leased by the city to employees and associated businesses.

City Councilman John P. Ferrero referred all questions about the arrangement to Ballas. City Councilman Manuel Garcia refused to comment. Other council members could not be reached. Burnett, Ballas and City Manager Chris Rope did not return telephone calls about the arrangement last week.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday March 5, 1992 Home Edition San Gabriel Valley Part J Page 2 Column 5 Zones Desk 2 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
City of Industry: An article Sunday reported incorrectly that former City of Industry Councilman Patrick Perez was part owner of Cisco Security Services. Although Perez owns two businesses that provide landscaping and waste disposal services under contract with the city, he has no ownership in the security company.

Officials of the League of California Cities and the Southern California Assn. of Governments have called construction of housing for city employees highly unusual.

Dale Masl, project engineer for C&C Engineering, which drew plans for the additions, said Burnett lives in one of the houses and described the addition as a "family room." No one appears to be living in the second home, Masl said.

C&C itself leases one of the eight houses, though not one of those scheduled to receive additions. Masl did not return phone calls about that arrangement.

Plans call for a new fireplace lined with bookshelves in the addition to Burnett's two-story home. The plans also call for enlarging a second-floor bedroom.

Burnett pays the city $600 a month to lease the home. Similar homes in nearby Hacienda Heights, West Covina, Walnut and Diamond Bar rent for between $1,000 and $1,500 a month, area real estate agents said.

All eight homes are at the top of a winding private road that is watched around-the-clock by city-paid guards. The homes receive city-paid pest control and gardening services, records show.

The City Council unanimously approved the construction of the Burnett house and a neighboring house for the city manager in October, 1989. At the same time, the council approved an amendment to its employment agreements with Rope and then-urban development director John J. Radecki Jr., requiring them to live within the city. Radecki died three months later and was replaced by Burnett.

Industry City Atty. Graham Ritchie said last year that the houses were built for the city manager and the urban development director because the two must be accessible seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The other six houses, financed by the city's Civic Recreational Industrial Authority, were built during the early 1980s to provide housing for employees of the Industry Hills resort complex.

"I consider it legal to do that sort of stuff when you want people to be in an area where there is not readily available houses," Ritchie said last year.

However, N. Eugene Hill, a California assistant attorney general, said the arrangements may violate a provision of state conflict-of-interest laws that prohibit city officials or employees from participating in any negotiations or contracts that would benefit them.

But the attorney general's office has not received a public complaint, Hill said. A complaint is required to initiate an investigation.

According to county documents filed last year, the six houses have been leased to C&C Engineering Inc.; David Winn, father of City Councilman Dean Winn; Cisco Security Services, which employs the guards on the street and is partly owned by former City Councilman Patrick Perez; former Industry Hills employee Margie Hearle and her husband, Herbert, and Howard Jenkins, general manager of the City of Industry Water Works System, who apparently leases two of the homes.

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