I've been looking at check registers from the City of Glen Rose for the past 6 months or so. (Have put quite a bit of the public information requests links here although it isn't exhaustive). I had wondered if there is any oversight of the CVB by the City-in other words, who looks over the shoulder of employee Billy Huckaby to see how he spends the CVB money? It's my understanding that there used to be a board that looked over his expenses, etc. but for some reason it was disbanded. Even when I have attended city meetings in which Huckaby gives his CVB report, there's no dollars and cents that I can make out, at least not that is talked about publicly. I plan to get a couple of copies of CVB reports that are given to the city to see if they drill down into the weeds.
When I looked at the receipts from the month of April 2010, I saw that there were 3 payments given BACK to a motel for putting up 3 people for the CVB. I asked Mr Huckaby about them.
I notice in the CVB check registers from April 2010 that there is an entry for Best Western that reads
Best Western- Rooms for travel writers - $535.63
Bill Hendricks-3/24/2010- 319
I would like a copy of the contract/agreement that the CVB made with these gentleman for articles in exchange for lodging, that indicates who these gentleman write for and what the date of their article(s) appearing would be, as well as the publication.
I have attached the check request I submitted to Peggy. The check request reflects that the accommodations were provided for a travel writer (Bill Hendricks) and the others were for the judges of the National Senior Pro event at the Expo Center. She did not list it all on the budget, probably due to space limitations.
Bill Hendricks writes for Ride Across Texas, which is a motorcycle magazine. We provide rooms for journalists from time to time if we have determined they are legit and we have a chance for an article to be published. Requiring a contract with the writer or publication is not a standard practice in the industry. In fact I have never heard of it being done. I am very selective when we do it and have probably only done it a half dozen or so times over the past couple of years, despite many requests. Being a former newspaper and magazine editor and publisher, I doubt there is any publication that would agree to such a contract.
Here is the link to the check request.
I then asked
So, do you get copies of the article after they're written?
Normally I do get copies of the articles.
Some questions. I couldn't find Mr Hendricks nor his magazine by doing a search on the internet. I note that the arrangements were made with Mr Hendricks on the CHANCE that he write an article, not that he necessarily did. And it's interesting that judges in an event that the county sponsors are given free rooms. Does the CVB pass around the wealth to other hotel/motels?How does Mr Huckaby determine who gets a room and who doesn't? If there isn't a board of directors, is this entirely at his discretion? What sort of paper backup is there to match up rooms with, for example, articles in magazines?
The whole contract thing bothers me. It may well be that conventions and visitors bureaus in Texas or even in this country have a sort of arrangement where they pay writers to come stay in a hotel room in order to get some marketing love. IF that's so, then it seems to me that the writers have an obligation to say that they got something in return for their article. Otherwise, if you read a favorable article on some travel destination, and it's through the roof with praise, wouldn't you, as a potential traveller, want to know that the writer got a spiff for saying nice things? At any rate, it ought to be full disclosure on all sides. And definitely IF you're giving somebody a room, in order to prove that it isn't just some buddy of yours, perhaps, oughtn't there be some proof that an article was WRITTEN?
And, really? Judges are put up for free using CVB money? I'd love to hear some comments about how this stuff works. Here you have a business that is coming to town to put on a show, some rodeo. The money that is made is supposed to be returned back, in this instance, to the county and also to Dooley Enterprises. The county went back to the taxpayer for the shortfall on the Expo Center this last year because the Expo didn't break even. No wonder that Dooley works so closely with the Huckaby- Huckaby gets the hotel/motel tax to put up some of the personnel for a business that Dooley wants to book, the hotel/motel doesn't have to pay anything because they get reiumbursed. Again, maybe this is also how CVB money works, to spiff people to come to town to get their business. But a judge isn't going to be doing anything for marketing and advertising.
Also on those receipts is one where Huckaby paid his neighbor to do some hauling. I noticed on the receipts for that same month that the City bought a trailer.
Finally, I heard a rumour that involved monies going to an entity outside this county for a fireworks display. IF true, then it would mean that Mr Huckaby does believe that he has ful discretion to spend on whatever he wants, without city approval. Isn't it time to put in some oversight?