- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009

The D.C. Council approved a measure calling for the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission to be merged into the Washington Convention Center Authority in a cost-saving effort.

In granting final approval to the District’s 2010 Budget Support Act earlier this week, the council called for the two bodies to become a single agency charged with promoting and managing events throughout the city, particularly at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, RFK Stadium and D.C. Armory. The merger would eliminate the need for the sports commission’s $2.5 million subsidy.

Under terms of the merger, maintenance and upkeep of RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory will shift to the D.C. Office of Property Management. Management and marketing of events will remain with the authority.

Personnel decisions have not been announced, but authority CEO Greg O’Dell is expected to serve as head of the merged body, while commission CEO Erik Moses will continue his duties as a director beneath O’Dell.

The council did announce that current commission board members Bill Hall, a partner at the Winston & Strawn law firm, and Emily Durso, president of the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C., will join the board of the authority.

“We’re looking for a scenario where two plus two equals five,” Moses said. “I think Greg and I are both confident there are some real synergies to exploit here. We’ll obviously be looking for some efficiencies and savings where we can find them.”

The two bodies have until Sept. 30 to conduct an analysis of the costs of the merger, along with a plan outlining how the authority would assume the responsibilities of the commission. The authority must also submit a plan to reduce expenses and increase revenues from commission programs.

The merger is expected to be completed in October.

• Tim Lemke can be reached at tlemke@washingtontimes.com.

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