Plans to explore a public-private partnership in operating the Los Angeles Zoo have been delayed at least a month because of questions about the deal's long-term effects on employees and the public.
During a hearing Wednesday of the City Council committee that oversees the zoo, Councilman Ed Reyes submitted nearly two dozen questions regarding public access and management, which he wants answered before a request for proposals is issued.
"I am concerned about what a change in administration would do," Reyes said. "What will happen when a new entity is in charge? What happens as far as liability if we have an earthquake?
The proposal, prompted by the city's financial problems, has been in the development stage for the past year and is modeled on the actions of other cities in privatizing their zoos.
The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, the nonprofit group that supports the Griffith Park attraction, has embraced the proposal and plans to bid for the contract to operate the zoo once the request for proposals is released.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, who chairs the committee and in whose district the zoo is located, said he wants a report completed in 30 days.
"We want to do this right," LaBonge said. "We are not going to go ahead until all the questions are answered.
As part of the report, LaBonge and Reyes also asked for an analysis of making the zoo a proprietary department like the departments of Airports, Harbor,and Water and Power.
In addition, they asked for a legal review of whether a change in the City Charter would be needed to allow private operators to oversee city workers.