Glendale Ticket Policy Scrutinized

Officials in Glendale, Ariz., are raising some eyebrows in the city over perks like free concert tickets to the 

Photo: Paul Kucher
in Glendale, Ariz. 

Over the past two years, city administrators, city council members and others scored 90 free tickets to seats in a suite at the venue, which is owned by Glendale, according to the Arizona Republic. Concerts attended by city officials and their guests included Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, and The Who, and ticket prices for the shows ranged from $45 to $180.

Some acknowledge the practice may seem questionable to the public, though the city’s administrative policy apparently does allow the reservation of seats for city and council business and to reward nonprofit groups.

“Does it look good? Probably not,” City Councilman Gary Sherwood told the Republic. “But if this can be used to help bring business into the city … then I think it’s a good thing. And there is a whole list of non-profits that have access” most of the time.

A city spokeswoman reported 76 nonprofit groups used the suite an average of 55 times per year over the past seven years, the paper said. But for some shows, like an Oct. 1  concert, city employees and their guests snagged a majority of the tickets. The city website noted 23 of 36 seats for the show went to city officials, another eight were slated for state representatives and their guests, and four were reserved for internet provider CenturyLink.

“We try to host these types of events each year with political leaders so that we build critical relationships outside of the formal legislative arena,” Glendale intergovernmental programs director Brent Stoddard reportedly wrote in requesting the tickets.

Dan Barr of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona told the paper holding gatherings outside of the formal legislative area could lead to violations of the state’s Open Meeting Law if at least four council members attended an event and discussed city business. Those types of discussions belong in public meetings, he added.