The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
A couple of weeks ago, the mayor announced some new appointments to the Convention & Tourism Advisory Board. This board was set up by city ordinance to oversee the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center (GWACC&VC) use of the $50,000 plus they receive annually from the room tax. Two people were re-appointed, and a new individual, manager of Marriott services at CMSU, was appointed to replace the manager of one of the motels. This put the City in violation of its own ordinance. Here’s what the ordinance says about the membership on the Board (view the complete ordinance):
"(b) Membership. The convention and tourism advisory board shall consist of 5 members, with 3 members being appointed by the Mayor with the consent of city council, and two members being appointed by the Chamber of Commerce, with at least one member from each appointing body being from the hotel or motel industry within Warrensburg. In the event that no person from the Warrensburg hotel or motel industry will accept a position on the board then the requirement for two appointees to be from the hotel or motel industry shall be declared void for that given year."
The new appointments leave only one representative "from the hotel or motel industry within Warrensburg" on the Board, and that person is the developer rather than the lodging management person. While it’s entirely possible that Marriott’s manager may be knowledgeable in the lodging industry and may have valuable insights to enhance tourism, he fails to meet the specific criteria of the ordinance.
Through research, we discovered that no real effort was made to find anyone to meet the specific criteria. At least three lodging establishments within the city limits (two motels and a B&B) were not asked if anyone would accept an appointment. Had a representative of one of these establishments been appointed, perhaps the GWACC&VC might have had to answer some specific questions, such as:
For those of us who have questioned the GWACC&VC’s “stealth” approach to its use of tax money, the presence of an invalid oversight board raise even more questions.
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