Remember the late, great, often-irate George Donahoe? I stopped in to see the long-time Ocean Shores businessman and city critic not long before his death in January of 2012. I told him I heard O.S. had hired an outside sales rep for the Convention Center, which I figured would make him happy, as he had been lobbying for this for years. Instead, he slammed a folder of something down on his desk and got red in the face. “Why are they paying a salary?” he demanded. “That position should be COMMISSION ONLY! You don’t sell, you don’t eat!”
Hmmmmm . . .
We were lucky to get the services of any salesperson with experience, much less one with a provable track record and no learning curve. Who would even consider trying to sell conventions here when we had been out of the market so long and have so spotty a record? George was probably right for the long run but in the short run to get the game re-started, again, we surely had to offer incentive. That could have changed as time went on, the contract being in 6 month increments probably gave recognition to that. Too bad the “leaders” ran the team off the field in the first inning. Now the plan, as stated by the leadership, is to sell the convention center “by word of mouth”. If that weren’t so stupid it would be funny. Then again, maybe the other employees our leaders interact with really do want to hold a convention in our center. I suspect they could afford it. I also suspect they would prefer to convene elsewhere, they get bad-mouthed too much here. Any way you cut this cake creating such hostility with Ms Edwards as to cause her resignation is another monument to bad judgement to grace city hall.
“out of the market so long “? What? You speak as if Mercer Started in April 2003 doing the job and retired in late 2011. So, how were we “out of the market so long”? We may not have been relevent in the market with the old convention center and the new convention center, but efforts to sell have been going on for quite some time. She was here before. Why did she leave before? Maybe it is time for the Hotels to take care of their own advertisement of the city. Maybe it is time for a B&O increase for tourism related businesses that benefit from the marketing of Ocean Shores and those that benefit directly from the promotion pay for it. Maybe it is time to figure out who is buying Ocean Shores. Are the residents the ones that eat at the food establishments? Have the businesses “polled” that? How about the tee shirt places? What percentage of the Pharmacy business is tourism or local? Who is buying their other offerings? Maybe they need to first figure out the beneficiaries of the promotion first and then work out a plan that saves their bacon first. Then ask the citizens to support the convention center. Also, before any new hotels or other facilities are approved, make sure they are not built with convention rooms or other things that compete with the convention center. George was a nice guy, but he did want to build a facility that would have competed directly with the convention center. As is typical in Ocean Shores, we have 3 of everything with none of them able to survive financially. If you invest here, make sure you offer something completely different from the others.
I agree that she was here before. She left because Mercer took over. The thought that because someone is paid to market means that the marketing is done and done effectively has some problems. Mercer did more than any former manager but he could not both on-site manage and off-site sell. And he didn’t. As to “asking” the citizens to support it, it is too late. A contract signed by a former mayor without the councils consent or knowledge has forced us to pay ALL shortfalls. So far we have been avoiding maintenance, avoiding replacing the director, and totally avoiding marketing for some years. If we don’t get some new money coming in asap we the taxpayers will again be forced to pony up. Ms Edwards may or may not have been the best choice possible but she was the ONLY experienced person who would respond to our request. Our convention center has NEVER been managed by experienced professionals, has always been economically challenged and not many truly experienced professionals are eager to jump into the O/S meat grinder where there is no competent measure of success or efficiency. “Let’s run off the pros and do it the same old way”.After all, it has worked so well thus far.
Well said. But professionals have never done well in a city that … fill in the blank. There seems to be a hostiity to those with knowledge, experience, contacts, professionalism, and the ability to actually get shit done. Or maybe it’s just that those qualities do not come cheap. At the same time, the city has embraced how many music men that came down the pike?
What is the “contract signed by a former mayor without the councils consent or knowledge …”?
The bonds require Ocean Shores to pay if funds generated by the sales tax, hotel/motel tax and events fall short. Did we really need an onsite manager? Probably not. The marketing was Ocean Shores as a whole being marketed. That is what the Hotel Motel money was supposed to do. The support of the convention center was supposed to be handled by the PFD tax and events. What has happened is that the Ocean Shores marketing money has been redirected to support the facility. All those chickens will come home soon enough with regards to the maintenance. Having another “director” in this town is a waste. They seem to do the day to day stuff just fine now. Marketing without events means nothing. Maybe they should seek out the events that were happening at the D&R. Enough of the same old stuff. New events beyond private parties are needed. The hotels get some of the traffic from the private events, but those events end up not impacting the rest of the town much. The summer should have something there every day! Why August always is empty is strange. If it fails, what’s next? Has anyone asked that question?
The contract is the original agreement within the PFD/Ocean Shores agreement. Only Veitz and Hunter saw the final draft prior to signing. The council was advised by the then city attorney that to break the contract and change that specific language would require basically the city sueing the PFD. That would of course have stopped the entire project and the council had no majority will to do that. So we are screwed. As usual. Professionals may have not done well here due to being tasked and overseen by amateurs. Ocean Shores has virtually no leaders, staff or elected, who were trained or worked in gov’t elsewhere. Well, one librarian. So they all do it the only way they know, the O/S way. Promoting from within works well, don’t you think? A bit like that old joke about Tennessee; “Three million people. six last names”.
You just asked “if it fails, what’s next? Has anyone asked that question?”
If you refer to AnonyMe above, it was answered: “As to “asking” the citizens to support it, it is too late. A contract signed by a former mayor without the councils consent or knowledge has forced us to pay ALL shortfalls. So far we have been avoiding maintenance, avoiding replacing the director, and totally avoiding marketing for some years. If we don’t get some new money coming in asap we the taxpayers will again be forced to pony up.”
Steve Ensley has stated this repeatedly that he didn’t want to pay for the service and tried to get someone to bid on it and no one did.
The reputation here is well deserved.
If the reputation isn’t deserved then all our hard work to earn it was a waste.
The city does have choices. The agreement was in the bonds. Go read them. The city may be on the hook, if there is a city. If there is no city, then what? That is part of the answer process. Chapter 9? Disincorporation? Would it revert to the PFD and the county? If so, would the bonds then have to be paid by them? Those are the questions that need ot be discussed.