L.A. Parks Chief to Quit, Become City Consultant

Working to rid themselves of a long-standing headache, leaders of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission have cut a deal to remove the parks department's controversial general manager, Jackie Tatum, but at a cost to taxpayers.

In a vote this week, the commission approved a $200,000 consulting contract for Tatum, who has given long service to the city and has a large network of private sector contacts, but whose management of the commission has come under fire from Mayor Richard Riordan and a number of City Council members.

Under the contract, Tatum would become a consultant when she resigns. Commission President Steve Soboroff said he did not know when that would occur, adding that it is up to Tatum.

Soboroff defended the contract, however, saying he and the rest of the commission need Tatum's help.

"I need the help on the fund-raising," Soboroff said. "We're just getting it going, and we need her."

The commission's action could be overturned by the City Council, but Soboroff and several council aides said Thursday that they expect it to stand.

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