April 18


Castro ducks Centro role

Our all-purpose Julian Castro illustration by Jeremiah TeutschOur all-purpose Julian Castro illustration by Jeremiah TeutschThe official public inquisition into the Convention Center ethics SNAFU appears to be over. The mock trial was held in Council chambers Thursday, where the requisite scolding took place – most mysteriously of Mike Frisbie, head of the Capital Improvements Management Services department – before Council unanimously awarded the design and build contract to the Hunt-Zachry team.

The Express-News editorial board dressed down City Manager Sheryl Sculley and her team on September 20, and columnist Brian Chasnoff let Mayor Julian Castro gently off the hook in a September 21 column. But there is plenty of unfinished business at City Hall.

As the E-N reported, the conflict of interest was about as clear-cut as these things get: This past summer, Deputy City Manager Pat DiGiovanni was courted and hired as the executive director of Centro Partnership, a public-private nonprofit with the job of promoting downtown redevelopment. During the same time period DiGiovanni was negotiating with the board of Centro, he was a member of a City committee that evaluated, ranked and recommended candidates for the $305-million Convention Center expansion contract. The partnership between Hunt Construction and local Zachry Corp. won that prize. David Zachry, head of the family business, is the vice chair of the Centro Partnership board and was part of four-person team that negotiated DiGiovanni’s employment contract (DiGiovanni is scheduled to leave the City at the end of the year to formally join Centro).  

““This was certainly an oversight on the part of the staff,” the Mayor told Chasnoff.

Yet the Mayor sits on the board of Centro Partnership along with City Manager Sheryl Sculley and District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal.

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