February 27, 2014 11:09:40 AM
For the second time in two months, Lowndes County supervisors are facing a vacancy on the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors.
Bart Wise resigned effective immediately Wednesday. Wise was appointed to the tourism board in 2011. He served as its treasurer.
Supervisors will officially accept his resignation when they meet March 3. Wise, president of Trustmark National Bank in Columbus, was the county's appointee from the business community. To fill that post in the past, supervisor Harry Sanders said officials and board members of the Golden Triangle Development LINK make a recommendation from the pool of applicants. The county board has never voted against a LINK recommendation. It will likely fill the seat vacated by Wise on March 14.
There are two years left on Wise's term, which expires in February 2016.
Wise said he appreciated supervisors giving him the opportunity to serve the last three years and the support he's felt from the community.
"The CVB board will continue to promote and market the community and allow our visitors to see the great place where we live and work," Wise said. "We've done five audits in three years. The last two have been really clean from a financial standpoint. The organization has paid down a significant amount of debt and we're on solid footing going forward."
Sanders acknowledged Wise's financial background and said he was pleased with Wise's work with the CVB.
"He's gone through the rough part of everything and now things are running smooth," Sanders said.
CVB Executive Director Nancy Carpenter said she appreciated Wise's service on the board.
"We will miss him terribly," she said. "Bart brought integrity and dignity to the board. It makes me very sad because he's been a friend for a very long time and a friend of Columbus. He has served in such an honorable capacity."
After Leon Ellis, one of the county's at-large appointees, informed supervisors last month that he would not seek re-instatement, they appointed Lester King to replace him Feb. 4. Long-time city at-large appointees Whirllie Byrd and Nadia Dale were recently re-appointed to the CVB board by councilmen for 4-year terms.
The county board and city council each appoint two at-large CVB board members as well as a representative of the business community and a hotel representative. The ninth seat is appointed by Sanders and Columbus Mayor Robert Smith. Their appointment has been vacant since last June when Harvey Myrick was removed.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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