Atascadero mayor joins city's tourism district board

Tom O'Malley
Tom O'Malley dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley has filled an open seat on Atascadero's Tourism Business Improvement District board of directors.

The tourism district was established in 2013 and allows Atascadero's lodging businesses to charge a 2 percent levy on hotel bills and direct that money toward marketing. The entity is considered an advisory board to the Atascadero City Council.

O’Malley, proprietor of the Portola Inn bed-and-breakfast in town, is allowed to be on the tourism board since he operates a business in the city’s lodging industry.

O’Malley received a letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission in Sacramento saying his service on both boards is allowed, with some exceptions. Given his position as mayor on the City Council, according to the letter, O’Malley will have to excuse himself from voting on City Council discussions related to the district that directly benefit his personal financial interests, such as whether to renew the tourism district’s annual assessment each year.

The five-member tourism board is comprised of three members serving three-year terms and two members serving two-year terms. The two-year term seats, one of which went to O'Malley, expired June 30.

Michael Wambolt of the city’s new SpringHill Suites Marriott hotel filled the other expired seat.

In 2013, O'Malley also recused himself from a City Council vote on whether to open up Atascadero’s historic City Administration Building to events, since the Portola Inn also hosts events.