September 19, 2012 10:03:48 AM
Monday's meeting of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau was a circumspect affair. The board did its business at a brisk pace, adjourning in about an hour. There were no wild allegations, no shouting matches, no flagrant flaunting of any rules.
This was, indeed, suspicious behavior.
For a board that has developed a well-earned reputation for in-fighting and questionable practices, Monday's gathering seems to suggest that the CVB has embarked on a major course correction. How it arrived at this point is unclear. Perhaps the board has amended its way because of the harsh light of public scrutiny. Maybe the change came as an epiphany of some kind. Maybe there were just some kinks that needed working out.
No matter the reason, the end result is encouraging. And, in turn, we encourage the CVB to continue on the path it seems inclined to take.
On Monday, the CVB finally put to bed the ambiguity over executive director Nancy Carpenter's use of a CVB-owned automobile. To achieve this, they asked board attorney Chris Latimer to examine the laws that govern these matters. His opinion was pretty clear: The car is not to be used for personal business. We can assume that Carpenter will comply with both the spirit and letter of the law.
Leaders don't look for ways to skirt the rules; they embrace the sorts of practices that enhance the rules. They set the example.
The Board has also tightened its guidelines that govern the myriad festivals funded through CVB grants. No longer will canceled checks to "cash," be permitted as evidence that the funds are being used properly. In addition, those festivals who show a profit will be compelled to show where those profits are going. The idea of funding the festivals was to help the organizers make their festivals self-sustaining. Profits must be used to achieve that goal.
Finally, the board has nailed down reasonable festival grant guidelines.
It is clear that the CVB is adjusting its rules to ensure that all those tax dollars are being used for the purposes for which they were intended.
But the proof of the pudding is in the tasting.
It's one thing to have clear, strict rules; it's another to enforce them.
But so far, we like what we see.