The Tucson City Council is asking Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities organization to account for the trip it took to San Diego with elected officials.
The request came at Tuesday's City Council meeting when Councilman Steve Kozachik asked top officials with TREO to explain why it takes trips to other cities, inviting public officials to go along.
Kozachik said he wants TREO to account for a recent trip that drew negative attention because Councilman Paul Cunningham was accused of making inappropriate sexual remarks to female city staffers in a hotel bar on the trip in San Diego. Cunningham has since apologized, but Kozachik said people don’t understand the trips.
“The common perception that I hear anyway is that TREO feels that they shouldn’t be answering questions as to the credentials and more particularly the value TREO presents to the city of Tucson," Kozachik said.
Joe Snell, president of TREO, said a group of elected officials and economic development staff went to San Diego because it’s similar to Tucson in many ways. San Diego has successfully grown biotech industry companies, Snell said, and locals wanted to find out how to do the same here. It was the fifth trip to another area in recent years to study job creation.
"And we wanted to specifically explore how they grew their biotech industry," snell told the council. "This process involved several speakers, representing academia, local government. We had state government representatives, we had representatives from the Mexican government, from Tijuana.”
Snell said TREO will create a regional plan in the next 90 days.