-GBAD has returned funding to the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau;
-Power on the GBAD board has shifted;
-The board is as contentious as ever.
The first order of business, swearing in new board members Hy Kloc and Judy Peavey-Derr, immediately changed the sway of GBAD. Previously, GBAD had been deeply divided in 3-2 votes, with Stephanie Astorquia, Mike Wilson and Stephenson Youngerman facing off with Mike Fitzgerald and Gail May. The division climaxed with last summer's decision to cut off funding to BCVB, which had, for nearly 30 years, promoted Boise as a destination for visitors of events.
But with Wilson's retirement and Youngerman's loss in the recent GBAD election, the stage was set for change. Peavy-Derr now clearly sides with Astorquia but Kloc quickly took sides with Fitzgerald and May. In fact, the first order of business was to elect Kloc, naturally on a 3-2 vote, as GBAD's new chairman. May was elected vice chairman.
In front of a packed audience, including scores of individuals employed in the hospitality and marketing industries, May motioned to send $24,500 in temporary funding to BCVB within the next seven days.
"If we don't send these funds, the Convention and Visitors Bureau will lose its grant funding from the Idaho Travel Council," said May.
"BCVB could lose $2 million in ITC grant funds that are much-needed to help promote Boise and the Boise Center," said Fitzgerald, who seconded the motion.
"I feel ill-informed on this," said Astorquia. "Why was I not given a copy of this motion prior to our meeting? And I see that your motion is for $24,500 just under the Idaho procurement laws of $25,000."
Astorquia was referring to Idaho code, which requires a public entity to have a formal bidding process for amounts over $25,000.
"It just seemed like an OK figure to go with," responded May.
"Are you interrogating Mrs. May?" Kloc quizzed Astorquia.
"I have a lot of questions," responded Astorquia. "I'm dumbfounded that something like this hasn't been reviewed by our staff or legal counsel."
"I was really hoping we could start working together," said Kloc.
But the debates kept coming.
"I see a huge conflict of interest here," said Peavey-Derr. "Mrs. May holds financial interest in the Owyhee Hotel and that disqualifies her from making this motion, let alone voting on this issue."
"There are a lot of hotels and entities that would benefit from the BCVB," responded May. "I personally stand to gain nothing from this. The BCVB has been using office space at the Owyhee but there has been no lease and no agreement. Besides, management at the Owyhee made that decision, not me."
In the end, the temporary funding was approved, 3-2, with Fitzgerald, Kloc and May voting yes, and Astorquia and Peavey-Derr voting no.
May then motioned to order staff to write up a new request for proposal to fund promotion and marketing of Boise and the Boise Centre. The contract could end up funding BCVB through the end of the current fiscal year. After more debate, the motion passed, again 3-2.
Peavey-Derr addressed the board following each vote with a caveat.
"If there are any lawsuits, let the record show that two members of this board voted against these issues," said Peavey-Derr. "So we shouldn't be sued."