Carl Zablotny – in one of his last acts as Mayor Bower’s chief of staff – issued a clarification to the SunPost last Thursday in the did-she-or-did-she-not controversy over her requested reimbursement for expenses related to her junket to Basel, Switzerland, in June:
“The Mayor wanted to be perfectly clear that she personally reimbursed the city for any of her personal vacation expenses after Art Basel. She used vacation time to spend with the city manager, Jorge Gonzalez, and his family after Art Basel was over. So when she made the comment [at a July 2 farewell luncheon for then-City Manager Jorge Gonzalez] that she just returned from an ‘excursion’ with the city manager and pointed out that she did pay for that herself, she was correct. Unfortunately, some interpreted that statement to mean she reimbursed the city for the entire Art Basel official visit, which she did not.
“There has been an official budget line for Art Basel for the past 10 years. The mayor, city manager, and one commissioner have been going each year. That’s the protocol agreement the city has with the officials of Art Basel. They come here, we go there.
“At this time we feel that there is no need to continue focusing on what has become a very contentious issue. But thanks for the opportunity to clarify.”