The City Council unanimously approved a three-year contract with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce for the city’s Chairman’s Circle Membership and general support services at a cost of $20,000 per year.
The city is a long-standing member of the chamber, which was established as part of the Glendale business community in 1927.
The chamber is a private, nonprofit, membership-driven organization whose mission is to serve the business community, provide programs and services to improve the economic environment, and serve as a reliable source for community information and business referrals.
Since October 2013, when current Chamber President Robert Heidt took over leadership, the chamber has grown from 475 members to more than 1,200, becoming one of the largest in the state of Arizona.
The city of Glendale and chamber first entered into an Economic Development and Community Enhancement Agreement in 1997 for the purpose of contracting with the chamber to provide general support services and activities designed to assist the city in accomplishing its objectives. The focus of the agreement was to support and complement the city’s efforts as it pertained to economic development, marketing, and promotional activities between the city and the business community. Since that time, the city has had an annual agreement with the Chamber of Commerce in support of economic development initiatives.
Ocotillo resident Bud Zomok was the only person to question the contract approval during the June 26 voting meeting.
“I looked at the standards for conducting city business officials and there is a conflict of interest clause and the appearance of a conflict of interest for councilmembers,” Zomok said during comments. “I have a concern of a potential appearance of conflict of interest for two city officials.”
Zomok pointed to Mayor Jerry Weiers and City Manager Kevin Phelps, who both sit on the board of the chamber, as well as Vice Mayor Lauren Tolmachoff.
“(Phelps and Weiers) both sit on the chamber board and (Tolmachoff) I saw in several newspapers that you are hugging members of the chamber because of your re-election and there appears to be a conflict of interest,” Zomok said. “My request is that (Weiers and Tolmachoff) recuse yourselves at the very least on this vote and allow those potentially who do not show an appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Weiers was quick to point out that his position on the board is not a conflict for him to vote.
“I am an ex-official member, a non-voting member of the chamber,” Weiers said. “I believe that precludes me from recusing myself from this vote so I will not recuse myself from (the vote).”
The contract was renewed unanimously by the council.