The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

A Word About CCTB

with 8 comments

I have been following Geoffrey Ritter’s excellent series on the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB) in the Carbondale Times over the last couple of months. A few weeks ago, I wrote summaries of the two city council meetings concerning CCTB funding (one, two), and I briefly mentioned that I supported Mayor Fritzler’s plan to cut the agency’s funds.

Other than that, I’ve avoided commenting on the CCTB scandal – mainly because it hasn’t seemed necessary. Ritter was exposing CCTB Executive Director Debbie Moore’s questionable moves and the council was taking action to cut the agency’s funding and replace more than half of its board of directors.

When I read Ritter’s article in this week’s Times, I became furious. It isn’t online yet, so if you want to read it you’ll have to pick up a paper copy of the Times. I’ll give you a very brief summary.

Mayor Fritzler was planning to replace all eight of the CCTB board members appointed by the city. The eight members made up a majority of the fifteen person board. The new members would presumably be in a position to exercise some oversight over CCTB and possibly replace its director. So, anticipating the change in membership, the CCTB board voted this week to increase the size of the board, which has the effect of reducing the proportion of board members appointed by the city. To make matters worse, CCTB appointed seven of the eight members Fritzler was planning to replace to the newly created seats.

When I read that, I was shocked and infuriated. The arrogance of this move is breathtaking. It is a transparent attempt to evade city oversight and control of CCTB’s activities, despite the fact that the city of Carbondale provides more than 80% of CCTB’s funding. This cannot be allowed to stand.

The Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau is almost entirely funded by tax dollars that belong to the people of Carbondale. We give the organization tax money that could be used to fund other priorities. If public money is funding an organization, the public has a right to hold that organization accountable. Attempts to evade public oversight are unacceptable.

In this week’s article, Ritter writes that Mayor Fritzler “said he may present for a vote a proposal first presented by Wissmann in February that would make city representation on boards and commissions to which it gives money proportional to the amount of money given.” I was skeptical of that idea when Wissmann proposed it, but it’s obvious now that it is necessary. Fritzler should propose it, and council should support it.

Until such a policy can be put in place, council should direct staff to zero out the city’s contribution to CCTB. That organization should not receive another penny of tax revenue until it can be brought under control. That means more than a change in the composition of the board. That also means a change in staff. At the very least, the executive director should be replaced. Until these changes happen, the city should refuse to fund CCTB.

This change will require leadership. This is an opportunity for Fritzler to prove he’s up to the job of mayor. It is the responsibility of our elected officials to see that our tax dollars are spent wisely. Allowing CCTB to evade oversight is not an option. Council must act to stop the abuses at CCTB.

I’ll link Ritter’s past Carbondale Times articles below. I especially recommend the last two articles.

Comments are welcome.

CCTB Could See Dramatic Funding Cuts from Carbondale, Jackson County

Mayor’s CCTB Proposal Draws Various Reactions

Council Cuts $50,000 from CCTB Budget

At SIU, Tourism Director Has Built a Problematic New Agency

CCTB Nepotism Goes Back Years


Written by The Carbondale Observer

March 29, 2012 at 7:45 am

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Wow! You are right about the breathtaking arrogance. I caught one of the earlier Times articles, and it looked like there was plenty of arrogance already in play, what with the grant “workaround.” I don’t really have any insight to share, just shaking my head. I am curious about how the proposed legislation would map the proportionality of the board share to actual dollar amounts… or would it be related to the proportion the city’s contribution is of the organizations total budget?


    March 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

    • VeloAudrey – I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think you had it right – the city would appoint board members in proportion to its contribution to the total budget of an organization. So if city funds make up 80% of an organization’s budget, the city would appoint 80% of the board members.

      Thanks for the comment!

      The Carbondale Observer

      March 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

  2. As a taxpayer, I am angry at the arrogance. Can an organization just decide to double it’s board? 23 members on a board! You’ve got to be kidding. Debbie Moore will go to any length, it seems, to preserve her job and the jobs of her family members.
    I worked at the Dist 95 Summer and Reading and Math Academy last year and was glad the city funded it then and I understand why they chose not to this year, but I don’t have a job this summer unless the school can fund it themselves. I was happy and grateful the taxpayers gave me a chance to work with young people who needed academic help and get paid for it. I makes me very angry that Debbie Moore has the power and gall to preserve her job this way on the backs of my family and I who pay our taxes and work hard for every dime.

    R. Parkinson

    March 30, 2012 at 7:16 am

    • R. Parkinson – I agree. The CCTB board made a serious mistake. I think they have the power to increase the size of the board, but I’m hoping for city council action to put a stop to it. This should not be allowed to stand.

      Thanks for the comment!

      The Carbondale Observer

      March 30, 2012 at 11:06 am

  3. Isn’t this just business as usual in Illinois politics? Didn’t Poshard just do something like this to get the SIU BOT off his back? The number of government entities in Illinois leads to this kind of corruption.


    March 30, 2012 at 10:56 am

    • PtG – I’m in total agreement with you on the number of units of government. This strikes me as a good government issue, not a liberal vs. conservative more government or less government issue.

      It’s hard for people to keep track of the proceedings of several different units of local government. We’ve got the city government, the park district, the township, several school districts, an airport authority, and a mosquito abatement district to keep track of and most of us have limited time to pay attention to these things.

      I’m for rolling as many of the existing government functions as possible into either the city or the county government. Then people can argue about which functions, if any, should be eliminated or privatized. I think that would make it a lot easier for citizens to keep up with public affairs.

      Thanks for the comment!

      The Carbondale Observer

      March 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

  4. […] this week I wrote a post about the CCTB board’s decision to increase its voting membership as a tactic to evade […]

  5. […] is planning to act on funding for community organizations at the Tuesday, May 1 meeting. I’ve written before that I think the city needs to bring CCTB under control. The May 1 meeting is the time to take […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: