Metro Human Relations Commission Executive Director Kelvin Jones told The City Paper Tuesday his trip with the Chamber of Commerce contingency to Denver last month was funded by Metro, but added that his purpose for being there was justified.
Jones was asked about the trip by District 30 Councilman Jim Hodge during the department’s budget hearing in front of Council on Monday — a hearing where some took issue with the grilling of the director.
Jones said a component of the trip was a workshop on integrating new populations, with a focus on immigrant and minority communities. He said he’s gone on the Chamber of Commerce trip annually since he was hired by Metro seven years ago.
He also pointed out his difficulty in answering some questions stemmed from the fact he was not given the same budget documents that Council members were referencing.
At-large Councilman Jerry Maynard took issue with the line of questions during the Human Relations Commission budget hearing, but Jones said he thought it was fair.
“Council persons and the citizens have a right to know where their money is being spent and how their money is being spent,” Jones said, but also pointed out the Human Relations Commission has always been at or under budget since he took over five years ago.
Jones also said he would have answers to all the Council members’ questions in the coming days.
District 4 Councilman Michael Craddock, who pressed Jones on the spending of about $6,000 for advertising and other topics, said he wanted to wait for those answers before commenting again.
“This ain’t about Kelvin Jones,” Craddock said. “It’s about the taxpayer’s dollar.”