Chamber accepts vote by tourism committee

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Marshall County by a Kentucky company retained by the Chamber of Commerce is being ended in accordance with decisions by the Chamber's board and the county tourism committee that appropriated money to the Chamber for the contract.

Oversight for the contract with We Make Things Happen Corp. of Bowling Green, Ky., was assigned to the Chamber last year before the county election. Some $30,000 was budgeted for WMTH services. Half was appropriated to start work on a brochure, signage, and to create an Internet web site to attract tourists to Marshall County.

However, questions were raised last winter after new members were assigned to the committee that championed the project. Among the questions was how to measure the success of the consultant. Criteria were developed by spring, and performance was among the topics discussed this month when the chamber's board met.

"Based on WMTH's performance to date and their response to our request for a status report on our contract, it is the consensus of the Chamber Board that it will be extremely difficult to work with WMTH and monitor their performance," according to a board member's synopsis of the panel's meeting on May 16.

The synopsis also reported that the board sent WMTH a letter saying it had "been entrusted with money from the county and we have a duty to hold WMTH accountable for their performance."

As a result of that May 16 meeting discussion, chamber directors sent options to the county's Tourism and Economic Development Committee on what course of action was best. That panel oversees spending of hotel-motel room tax revenue for economic development purposes.

The option endorsed by the county tourism committee was to "dissolve the partnership, but keep the web site and the brochures," Committee Chairman Richard Medley reported. The other option was to continue the project, but turn it over to an arm of county government instead of the chamber.

The committee's vote was unanimous, said Medley, who presided when the committee met on Thursday evening last week.

Having received notice of the committee's unanimous decision, Chamber President Greg Lowe raised the topic for discussion at Monday's Chamber Board meeting and he asked, "How do we follow through on that?"

Board member Barry White replied that he would draft a "dissolution agreement" based on the documents the chamber had on the subject and the board unanimously agreed.

Lowe said the agreement could be a subject for the next meeting of the Chamber Board and the panel turned to other matters during the Monday meeting.