PTC puts council member on tourism board

Tue, 12/11/2007 - 5:57pm
By: John Munford

Over the strong objections of two council members, a City Council member will be appointed to serve on the Peachtree City Tourism Association, which runs the tennis center and amphitheater.

Stuart Kourajian and Mike Harman, who voted against the measure Thursday night, questioned the appropriateness of putting a council member on the board of what is supposed to be a separate entity from the city.

The association’s at-large board members may be easily swayed by the council member’s way of thinking on certain issues, Harman said.

And, Kourajian added, “they’ll only hear 20 percent of the city council’s opinion. ... I just don’t believe in having a city council person on it.”

Councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett said although the at-large board members serve three-year terms, the city council member appointed to the board could be changed each year to prevent someone from making the position “their own personal fiefdom.”

Mayor Harold Logsdon said the Tourism Association is different than other appointed bodies since the amphitheater and tennis center are city-owned facilities, unlike the city’s airport and sewer system.

“That’s probably the biggest exposure we have,” Logsdon said.

Also, the Tourism Association gets revenue from the city’s hotel-motel tax, which is another consideration, said Councilman Steve Boone.

Harman asked if McMullen or some other staff member could serve on the board. McMullen replied that the natural pick for that position would be City Recreation Director Randy Gaddo, but he was worried about overloading Gaddo’s schedule.

Plunkett noted that the association already has an appointee on its board from the city’s recreation commission.

The 3-2 vote also approved an expansion of the tourism association board from five to seven people, with one of the new positions being a citizen at large appointed by council and the other a council member selected by council. The changes also included a new requirement that any measure needs four positive votes by the board to be approved.

Part of the reasoning for expanding the board to seven members was because some board members couldn’t make all meetings, which sometimes were cancelled due to lack of a quorum, said Tourism Association Vice Chairman Stan Phillips.

Phillips said it would be good to have a City Council member on the tourism board because it will foster a closer relationship with council and with the city in general. The association works hand-in-hand with city agencies such as the recreation, public works, police and fire departments to make sure special tourism-related events are staffed, officials noted.

Logsdon said the city could evaluate the situation in a year and decide whether or not to make any further changes.

The various changes to the Tourism Association’s by-laws had already been approved by the tourism board.

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