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A Witch Hunt by Any Other Name is...

Pitchfork-mob-300x225I can't know for certain, but the words coming out of a County Commission Finance Chairman in Tennessee sound suspiciously familiar to the words used by the Florida Speaker of House in his drive to eliminate that State's Destination Marketing Organization.

The opening salvo in Chattanooga: The Finance Director cited "out of control spending" and "carte blanche" handling of tax revenue at the city's tourism agency and called for the DMO's payroll and marketing budgets to be slashed by $2 million.

A fairly rapid and vigorous response was mounted by the Chattanooga CVB and its partners through the media, challenging the Finance Director's understanding of how Destination Marketing works.

Like the Florida Speaker, who has now backed off of eliminating Visit Florida (but slashing its budget and layering on a boatload of requirements that would significantly impede the agency's mission of driving visitor spending into the State), the County Finance Director has done likewise.

Earlier this week, he claimed that he was not on a "witch hunt"...but that the Bureau pushed back so hard, they must have something to hide. So, while publicly stating, "Without question, the CVB has done very good work for our Community and I thank you and your staff for all the good work," he calls for a complete and thorough audit of the Bureau:

"Let me be clear. I intend on making a full, unencumbered audit of CVB and my findings will be released to the public."

A witch hunt is defined as a searching out, for the purpose of persecution, persons that are doing something wrong.

Hey Tim? Isn't that what a "full and unencumbered audit" is?

Just sayin...

And, this is what the freak show in Florida will do across this land. It will become the playbook for politicians looking to make a name for themselves. Make media-worthy accusations about your DMO and then back away, smug in the knowledge that you've just scored points with your base and visibility with the rest. But, never considering the good people that are hurt in your wake of self-aggrandizement.



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Bill Geist

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