By Mark Carlisle
The story “What do Glendale officials make?” Glendale Today, August 2018, Page 1 provided only partial information on some of Glendale mayor and council members expenses for hotel stays while on city business.
Full financial reports on City Council members’ salary, benefits and expenses can be found here.
The aforementioned story stated “Ms. (Lauren) Tolmachoff, Mr. (Ray) Malnar and Mayor (Jerry) Weiers each have two hotel expenses of over $1,000 in the past year listed on their expense reports. The reports did not specify how long the stays were.”
While the expense reports, found on the left of the page linked above, list only the amount, date and a brief description of each expense, the travel reports, found on the right of the page, list specific details of travel expenses, including hotel stays.
A correction also needs to be made that Mayor Weiers had three hotel expenses for more than $1,000, not two, during the 2017-18 fiscal year, which spanned July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018.
Details on Council hotel stays of $1,000+
Both of the hotel expenses of over $1,000 in the past fiscal year for both Vice Mayor Tolmachoff, who represents the Cholla District, for Sahuaro District Councilman Ray Malnar and for Barrel District Councilman Bart Turner were for separate trips to the National League of Cities conferences on the East Coast.
The first was the NLC’s City Summit in November 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. All three council members stayed at the Charlotte Marriott City Center hotel, 100 W. Trade Center. The base rate for each of their rooms was $229.99 per night. Ms. Tolmachoff and Mr. Turner stayed for five nights, which totaled $1,325.30 for each of their stays, after tax. Mr. Malnar stayed four nights, which totaled $1,060.24 after tax.
Two staff members from the city’s Intergovernmental Programs department, Brent Stoddard and Jenna Goad, also attended the conference. The City Council travel reports only include the lodging information for that specific council member; they do not include the lodging information for the two staff members.
According to a page on the NLC website, “City Summit is the only opportunity for all local officials—elected and staff—to learn about the issues affecting local governments and expand their professional network. The conference provides education for leadership development, meaningful discussions on common local-level problems and new best practices to address the trends affecting cities.”
The other NLC event that Ms. Tolmachoff, Mr. Malnar and Mr. Turner attended was the the NLC’s Congressional City Conference in March 2018 in Washington, D.C. Mayor Weiers and Mr. Turner attended this conference as well.
All four stayed at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel, 2660 Woodley Road NW. Each of their rooms cost $279 per night. Mayor Weiers, Ms. Tolmachoff and Mr. Malnar stayed for four nights for bills totaling $1,281.16 each after tax. Mr. Turner stayed for three nights, bringing his bill to $960.87 after tax.
Mr. Stoddard and Ms. Goad, from the Intergovernmental Programs department, also attended the conference. Again, the Council financial disclosure forms did not include their lodging information.
According to a page on the NLC’s website, the Washington conference gives local lawmakers a chance to meet federal lawmakers and advocate for local priorities at a federal level.
“The 2018 conference focused on rebuilding America’s infrastructure from bridges to broadband — offering local leaders a chance to meet with Congress and Administration officials, share best practices in city governance and develop the National Municipal Policy — representing the federal policy positions of cities nationwide,” the page states.
In addition to the NLC’s Congressional City Conference, the mayor’s other two hotel expenses of more than $1,000 were trips to the East Coast for the United States Conference of Mayors.
The first conference was in January 2018. Mayor Weiers stayed at the Capital Hilton, 1001 16th Street, Washington, D.C. at a rate of $342 per night for the room for three nights. After tax, the total for the stay was $1,177.86.
The mayor attended another U.S. Conference of Mayors event in June 2018 in Boston. He stayed at the Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Ave., Boston, for four nights at a rate of $330 per night. After taxes, the stay totaled $1,510.76.
These conferences also included hefty registration fees. The mayor paid a fee of $1,800 to attend the January meeting and a fee of $2,500 to attend the June meeting. For context, the registration fee for the November 2017 NLC City Summit was $450, and the fee for the March 2018 NLC Congressional City Conference was $495. (Ms. Tolmachoff and Mr. Malnar paid an additional $160 for that conference to attend a seminar entitled “Leadership 101: The Ethical Leader – Rules and Tools.”)
The purpose of these mayoral conferences, according to the group’s website, is for mayors to exchange ideas for how to best govern their cities and try to strengthen federal-city relations to ensure urban needs are being met by policy. For more information, click here.
Council members Ian Hugh, Jamie Aldama and Joyce Clark did not have any hotel expenses of more than $1,000 in fiscal year 2018, although Mr. Aldama had one that came close.
Ms. Clark, of the Yucca District, did not have any travel expenses for the fiscal year.
Mr. Hugh, of the Cactus District, had one travel expense logged, for the Arizona League of Cities and Towns Conference in August 2017 in Tucson. He stayed at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador, 10000 N. Oracle Road, for two nights at a rate of $99 per night. After taxes, the cost of the stay totaled $226.80.
Mr. Aldama, of the Ocotillo District, also stayed two nights at the same hotel for the same rate for that Tucson conference. His stay also totaled $226.80.
Mr. Aldama’s other travel expense during the year was for an NLC conference titled “University Leadership Summit & Big Ideas for Cities” in San Diego. He stayed four nights at the U.S. Grant hotel, 326 Broadway, San Diego at a rate of $219 per night. After taxes, the cost of the stay totaled $987.88.