August 5, 2011 1:01:00 PM
We''ve watched the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau plug along without a full-time director for five months.
It''s time to fill the job.
Since James Tsismanakis left for a similar position in Dekalb County, Ga., Nancy Carpenter has been doing the job in the interim.
Her interim status is indefinite and appears to be infinite. Board members have said they want to wait until the full board is seated before they make the call on how to proceed with the search.
Eight of the board''s nine positions are filled, and the other -- which is supposed to be a joint appointment by Columbus Mayor Robert Smith and Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders -- remains empty.
Like the CVB director''s job, no one seems to be in a rush to fill the vacant seat. They need to be.
Sanders and Smith are at loggerheads on who to appoint. And, the CVB board continues to meet from month to month, without a complete slate of board members.
Sanders has suggested John Bean, owner of The Grill, Pepper''s, Bulldog Deli and Harvey''s restaurants. He also suggested Allegra Brigham, interim president of Mississippi University for Women.
Smith shot down both ideas. He has pledged his allegiance to Claude Simpson, a retired businessman with a mission to revive the local Democratic Party. Simpson has been publicly critical of the salary paid Link CEO Joe Higgins and Sanders flat refuses to appoint Simpson.
It''s time to compromise, gentlemen.
The CVB has a lot of business to conduct and a lot of local tax dollars to manage -- more than a million each year.
And it''s past time for the CVB to have a full-time director, someone who can help the board better decide how to allocate funds and what exactly its mission is.
In the past, there has been little rhyme or reason as to how funds are disbursed to special events, festivals and the like. We''d like to see a clearly articulated vision and mission for the organization.
Community surveys and/or economic-impact reports should be a part of that process, especially if the CVB is supposed to be boosting tourism and quality-of-life events for community members.
If it''s not valuable to the community, why are we paying for it?
iam4columbus commented at 8/5/2011 5:42:00 PM:
I AM IN 100% AGREEMENT!
However, I believe that we, the citizens of Columbus (whose tax dollars fund the CVB) should insist that the effort to find a full-time Director be overseen by an OUT-OF-TOWN SEARCH FIRM!
As we have seen, by their recent actions, the CVB's Board is prone to childish, politically-motivated bickering. As a result, they have aptly demonstrated that they are incapable of rendering a fair, unbiased decision that is in the best interests of Columbus' tourism industry and the community as a whole.
We, here in Columbus, have too much to offer - rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious local cuisine - to allow politics or personal agendas to creep into the decision as to who will lead Columbus tourism efforts into the future!
WE NEED TO START THE SEARCH FOR A FULL-TIME DIRECTOR, NOW!!!
shinealightonit commented at 8/6/2011 12:11:00 PM:
Apparently, the CVB has a new vehicle for the Interim Director to drive all around in.
I wonder how much they spent on that?
kat commented at 8/6/2011 7:54:00 PM:
It is ridiculous that the position has not been filled ! Waiting on two old men to change their ways is a COMPLETE waste of time. They will NEVER agree. MOVE FORWARD now and get the position filled. Columbus has too much to lose by not having an effective leader in that position. The citizens are the losers. DO THE SEARCH for a new director- do not wait until the last position is filled. Sanders and Smith won't agree until Hell freezes over..........