By Raiza Giorgi


The Solvang City Council has called a special meeting for Tuesday, July 23, to discuss new versions of the contracts for the Solvang Chamber of Commerce and Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau that were canceled in closed session before the council’s public meeting on July 8.

The legality of that decision has been questioned by the Santa Ynez Valley Star as a possible violation of the Brown Act, since a decision on the contracts was not on the agenda that meeting.  

The agenda for July 23 says the terms for both the chamber and the Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau (SCVB) contracts will be discussed, with subsequent execution by the mayor a possibility.

After the cancellation of the previous contracts, Interim City Attorney Chip Wullbrandt said by email that the negotiations toward a new contract would include “at least two best practices previously missing — that the agencies won’t use the City funds for political campaign purposes and that they will not sue the City.”

Also in the SCVB item for the special meeting is the authorization of payment of the SCVB’s $60,000 invoice for July upon execution of the new agreement, according to the agenda. 

Also on the agenda for the special meeting is approval of a contract for Thomas Widroe, who was appointed as “special city auditor” during the June 17 closed session on a 4 – 1 vote, with Councilwoman Karen Waite dissenting. 

In making the appointment, the council said it was hiring him “to review the City’s overall structural performance and best practices to deliver optimal results for the community.”

Widroe is not a financial auditor, and according to his LinkedIn profile his company, Thomas Widroe Consulting, “specializes in helping businesses, non-profits, and public agencies acquire the talent they need to run more efficiently and competitively.” 

The special meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. July 23 in the Council Chambers at 1644 Oak St. in Solvang. To see the agenda, visit and click on City Hall.