Feb 4, 2014

Proposed Revamp of the Rose Bowl Operating Company Contract Heads to Pasadena Council

By Lauren Gold, Pasadena Star-News

PASADENA >> A proposal from the City Manager’s Office to increase oversight of the Rose Bowl and Pasadena Center Operating Companies will go to the council for consideration Monday.

The council commissioned the review of the operating companies’ governance last January after it approved an additional $30 million in city-backed debt for the ballooning costs of the Rose Bowl Stadium renovation.

City Manager Michael Beck said the changes are not meant to imply poor performance by the RBOC or PCOC, but to open up communication between both organizations and city hall.

“Both PCOC and RBOC have significant amounts of debt the city backstops, so it’s important the council has the opportunity to stay on top of what the financial performance is for the organization so they can react or make modifications as necessary depending on the direction of the financial outcomes,” Beck said. “I’m not suggesting there is anything nefarious going on. The intent is to be as open and transparent about what is occurring within the city and with all the funds, including the operating companies.”

Much of the staff report focuses on the RBOC, though it also recommends an update to the PCOC and the creation of a contract with the Pasadena Community Access Corporation (PCAC).

The current operating agreement with the RBOC was approved in 1995. Among the recommendations for the new one are adopting a practice of quarterly reports by the RBOC to the City Council, providing monthly reports to the council and developing a new policy for managing large capital projects.

Currently, the RBOC does submit monthly paper reports to the city’s director of finance.

The staff report notes that official communication between the council and the RBOC has not met the standards of the original contract. Although the current agreement requires an annual joint meeting with the RBOC and the council, a meeting has not been scheduled since August 2000.

The proposal also originally suggested that the council monitor and expressly approve salary rates and changes for the operating companies but that was not recommended by the Finance Committee, which argued that the council’s approval of the annual budget, which includes salaries, was sufficient.

Rose Bowl CEO and General Manager Darryl Dunn said he thought updating the operating agreement was a good idea, and said he already provides the information to the RBOC board so it would not be difficult to make reports to the council as well.

“We issued one of the biggest bonds in the history of the city so it’s very understandable the city council and the city want to make sure we are providing information,” Dunn said. “We’ll do whatever ultimately is the preference of the council.”

PCOC CEO Mike Ross could not be reached for comment Friday.

Mayor Bill Bogaard said he doesn’t think communication has been lacking on the RBOC’s activities, and said he viewed the governance report as mostly a positive affirmation that the RBOC was better as an independent operating company rather than a city department. But, he added, more information could not hurt.

“I think it’s a helpful discussion and I’ve been grateful to the RBOC for its resistiveness and I think it can only be a worthwhile effort we are making to scrutinize how we relate to one another and what the expectations are,” Bogaard said. “Having in mind the Rose Bowl is such an important business enterprise, we should be sure that the information flowing to the council is complete.”