Ken Bullock planned to talk about what the new Olympic budget means to local governments at this week's annual convention of the Utah League of Cities and Towns.
But Bullock, who as the league's executive director serves as its representative on the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's board of trustees, said he hasn't been allowed to see the new budget numbers.Olympic organizers are scheduled to release a new budget for the 2002 Winter Games on Sept. 24, but members of the SLOC board's budget committee spent two days looking at it last week.
When Bullock attempted to sit in on those meetings, he said he was told they were closed to trustees who aren't members of the budget committee and asked to leave.
"I wish I could give you information on the budget, but I'm not permitted to go to any meetings where the budget is being discussed," Bullock told members of the league's board of directors Tuesday.
He said the new budget, which is expected to exceed the current $1 billion-plus price tag for the 2002 Winter Games, may have an impact on local governments.
Utah's local governments contributed half of the $59 million in sales taxes used to build Olympic facilities along the Wasatch Front. The rest of the money came from the state.
Olympic organizers have a contract to repay that money. The 2002 Winter Games are largely privately funded, depending heavily on television networks and corporate sponsors for financing.
Bullock told the league board that he's frustrated.
"It almost feels like a shell game, where we have rules and we don't have rules" about who can attend Olympic meetings.
The chairman of the Olympic budget committee, Alan Layton, said the rules are that the committee's meetings are closed to non-members. Layton said Bullock wasn't the only trustee turned away.
All of the Olympic committees are closed to non-members, said SLOC Chairman Bob Garff. Besides budget, there are Olympic committees that deal with community relations, compensation, facilities and environment and audits.
"Most organizations divide and conquer. They divide up the workload and divide up the issues and allow people on the boards to participate through their committee assignments," Garff said.
He said that special arrangements would be made with Bullock or any other trustee to go over the new budget numbers with the help of SLOC staff.
"Nobody's trying to hide anything," Garff said.
The league's board of directors took no action on the matter Tuesday. It is expected to be raised again by Bullock during the convention's business session on Friday.
The league pushed hard to get Bullock appointed to the Olympic trustees' elite executive committee, where much of the business of running the 2002 Winter Games is conducted.
The league's president, Bountiful Mayor John Cushing, said Tuesday that a member of the executive committee shouldn't have any trouble attending other Olympic meetings.
Still, the relationship between the league and Olympic organizers has improved.
"I think we've come a long, long way," Cushing said. "Things are headed in the right direction."