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Renison questions motives behind city-funded trips to Vegas shopping conference

March 13, 2002

Vegas conference

By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Mayor Pro Tem John Renison wants to know which city employees or officials are going to the International Council of Shopping Centers Conference in Las Vegas in May.

"I talked to City Hall and was told that four or five people are going to Vegas," Renison said.

He asked City Manager Richard Inman if that was true. Inman said he hasn't yet seen the travel expense reports.

"I don't want to be a nit-picker but I want to be sure they're going for the right reasons. What's their role there? Is there a (city of Calexico trade show) booth?" he asked.

Last month the RDA board approved sending city employees or elected officials on three trips: the Las Vegas conference May 19-22, a late February conference in Anaheim's Disneyland Hotel and a March trip to Washington, D.C.

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When the board approved the expenditures, it required any city employee or official who wanted to go to check with Inman first.

On Tuesday night, the board considered authorizing expenditures for three more trips; in San Diego, Costa Mesa and Anaheim.

Before it did, Renison asked for there to be some sort of policy governing who goes to which conference and why.

Mayor Victor Carrillo said direction had already been given.

Renison said, "I think there should be some sort of policy."

Inman said he would look into the matter.

The board unanimously approved expenditures for the three Southern California conferences.

At the Las Vegas conference, the city officials who end up going could talk with shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, lenders, retailers and other professionals as well as academics and public officials, according to a staffer at the ICSC headquarters.

The International Council of Shopping Centers is the global trade association of the shopping center industry. It counts 39,000 members in the U.S., Canada and more than 75 other countries.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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