Plan proposed to save San Diego civic organist's job - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Plan proposed to save San Diego civic organist's job

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Money to pay next year's salary for San Diego's civic organist has been found, and it will not come from the city's general fund, the assistant director of the Parks and Recreation Department said Thursday.

Members of the City Council balked last month at approving a new 10-year contract for Dr. Carol Williams, who performs an hour long concert each Sunday at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, because it took money from the same fund that paid staff in the department and kept recreation centers open.

At the time, the shock of proposed cuts to recreation centers and city libraries, and their employees, was just settling in for the council members, but those reductions are no longer being seriously considered.

The new plan for Williams, to be presented to a City Council committee next Wednesday, is to pay her with some of the Parks and Recreation Department's share of hotel room tax revenues, which have to go for certain uses connected with tourism and can't be spent on general operations, said Scott Reese, the assistant director.

"In this case, with a direct nexus between the pipe organ and tourism, there's a solid connection," Reese said.

If the contract is approved, Williams would be paid $28,860 annually by the city for about 30 hours per week of work to prepare and perform the shows. She also receives money from the Spreckels Organ Society.

Williams earned a doctorate in music from the Manhattan School of Music and has performed around the world.

The organ and pavilion were a gift to San Diego from John and Adolph Spreckels for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, and the city has paid for an organist since 1926.

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