A Fresno City Council committee and Fresno Convention Center officials are starting to think like teammates after being at odds for months.
The council's Finance and Audit Committee on Tuesday voted to send an eight-page report on improving center operations to the full council later this month.
The committee's key two-part recommendation appears contradictory.
The council will be asked to consider cancelling the contract with Philadelphia-based SMG, the center's management company.
At the same time, the council will be asked to think about requesting city officials to amend the SMG contract in a way that saves big bucks for City Hall.
In reality, the recommendation is a signal that all parties may be mellowing. Committee Chairman Lee Brand at one time acted like he wanted to fire SMG, alleging it had violated the contract by missing its budget benchmark.
There was no such conflict in anyone's comments at Tuesday's two-hour hearing.
"We will come to terms with all of the specific recommendations," Convention Center General Manager Bill Overfelt said.
Whatever the council decides, Brand said, "the end result will be beneficial to the city."
Added City Manager Bruce Rudd: "This has been a very healthy discussion."
Brand said he expects to deliver the report to the council on Oct. 24.
Brand has spent weeks explaining why the city-owned center downtown needs an operational overhaul. His arguments boiled down to a conviction that, with energetic management, the center could cut expenses and increase revenues.
Brand saw as his trump card the threat to send SMG packing. The contract runs to 2019.
Overfelt on Tuesday said SMG finds no deal-killer among more than a dozen committee recommendations. He estimated a restructured deal could produce savings to City Hall of about $665,000 over the next two years.
The savings would come in part from wage cuts to center employees, Overfelt said.
The report includes 15 findings. Many revolve around millions in City Hall subsidies and Convention Center losses.
Overfelt said it's not fair to lay all financial woe at SMG's feet. He said city decisions caused the center's big debt. He said some buildings were periodically closed for repairs ordered by city officials.