Ochoa, Lanzafame picked for redevelopment oversight board

Two top officials in charge of planning the dismantling of Glendale’s Redevelopment Agency have been nominated to be on an oversight board that reviews their actions.

City Manager Scott Ochoa and Chief Assistant Director of Community Development Philip Lanzafame are set to take two of the seven spots on the oversight board, following a unanimous City Council vote Tuesday afternoon.

The council was acting in its dual role as the so-called successor agency, the body charged with making preliminary decisions about what will happen to redevelopment money and assets.

On Feb. 1, the Redevelopment Agency, which once used so-called “incremental” property tax revenues to develop the Americana at Brand and affordable housing units, ceased to exist. Its demise came after the state Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature was within its rights to ax redevelopment and divert redevelopment funds to state coffers.

The state law ending redevelopment lays out a plan that includes the creation of two new groups — the successor agency and an oversight board. The oversight board, which is appointed by council, school and county officials, must be in place by May 1.

The successor agency will attempt to keep as much redevelopment money in Glendale’s hands to pay off agency obligations, which include $70 million in contracts through June. It also will try to protect properties, such as the Alex Theatre, that were owned by the Redevelopment Agency.

The oversight board and California Department of Finance must approve successor agency decisions.

Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said the state law ending redevelopment does not preclude a city manager from being on the oversight board.

The law requires the board include one city employee to represent redevelopment employees at risk of losing their jobs — a role fulfilled by Lanzafame, who has worked for the agency since 1996, according to a city report.

“As projects are presented to the oversight board for approval, past knowledge of projects will better position Mr. Lanzafame to defend Glendale’s projects and assets,” according to the report.

Officials have yet to announce whether the end to redevelopment will mean lay-offs. About 39 full-time positions were paid for by redevelopment money. The city’s General Fund may cover $1.9-million worth of salaries and benefits from February through June, officials have said.

Members of the successor agencies and oversight boards do not receive compensation, although Glendale plans to spend $12,000 on an outside attorney for the oversight board, according to a city report.

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