LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Handy suggested the two commissions share the same co-directors.
“That is something we could have explored and we still could explore it,” he said. “In this time of tight budgets, we don’t need to duplicate if unnecessary.”
The suggestion was met with some enthusiasm during the meeting. London Downtown Executive Director Chris Robinson cited Boone, N.C. as an example of a city and county that shares tourism directors.
“I think it is a great opportunity to share the directors and have the same spokespeople, but have different commissions,” he said.
The idea could also turn into a red herring, because sharing directors goes against what the mayor proclaimed was the city’s explicit desire to take “control of our own future.”
It remains to be seen exactly how this is going to work out and the city’s true motives in starting its own tourism commission. The way it took the action also leads to questions, without notice to the other commission and calling a special meeting three days after the first vote to make final approval. What’s the rush?
Handy alluded to the city’s motives in his summation.
“We will work with you in any way that we can. We want to continue working with you, but we can’t do that if you don’t tell us what your ambitions and motives are, if you do it in secret.”
It’s possible the two tourism commissions can work together and be like Boone, N.C. But the effort will be hampered because the mayor and city council approached this significant development completely wrong. They interjected suspicions and questions where there didn’t need to be any.
Handy and other members of the London-Laurel County Tourism Commission, who have worked tirelessly to promote tourism in the area for decades, didn’t deserve the way they were treated by the city.
Now, it’s going to be hard working with someone you don’t trust.