CCC&VB board OKs abrupt changes, hears from C-SPAN |

CCC&VB board OKs abrupt changes, hears from C-SPAN

John Barrette

Carson City’s Convention and Visitors Bureau board on Monday dumped its marketing firm, gave the new bureau director an executive assistant and sent the city $70,000.

Not only that, it heard a presentation from C-SPAN about putting together shows about Carson City’s history for the broadcaster’s history and book channels. Justine Jablonska of C-SPAN said she has met with Mayor Robert Crowell and, along with two colleagues, will roam the city gathering video and information for the shows this week.

But the breadth of the board’s changes in response to proposals by Director Joel Dunn, after he recently assumed bureau leadership, upstaged Jablonska’s presentation not long after she finished.

The board voted unanimously to end its service agreement with RKPR Inc., a Reno-based public-relations firm, after Dunn said he wanted to change bureau marketing.

“It’s just not matching the direction that I want to move,” he said.

The firm had developed a marketing campaign earlier, but it was scrapped both to save money and to take a significantly altered approach, which Dunn outlined as the meeting moved forward.

He sought an executive assistant, 20 percent of whose time would be for marketing work and 80 percent for administrative duties, partly to spring himself free for aggressive marketing on his own to lure in events that will result in “heads in beds,” as Dunn put it. He also said website and social media would be done for less on a contract basis.

The assistant would earn $24 to $28 per hour, according to an amendment attached to the proposal, with room for growth to about $34. Dunn said the hire might ding the bureau budget up to $68,500 annually, but would come from about $360,000 saved by changing direction.

Board member Karen Abowd, also a city supervisor, wanted to know if the $290,000 or so remaining would go for marketing. Dunn said it would. Approval was unanimous.

Dunn also wanted to lease a RICOH Pro CS100S Color production printer to handle printing in-house. The base cost is $1,100 monthly and the lease, approved without dissent, is for six years.

The board voted 3-2 to send city government $70,000 to cover a timing-based shortfall on sales tax revenues to help service V&T Railway debt. Realtor Steve Lincoln and businessman Stan Jones, immediate past chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, dissented.

Lincoln’s he said he wanted to hold on to lodging tax revenues the bureau has as long as possible and seek more information, not block the transfer.

The bureau without dissent voted to dedicated $70,000 of its funds to help provide electricity at the Carson City depot for the V&T. That was justified as a way to provide a better environment for the Polar Express, which attracts more than 50 percent of the V&T ridership.

Though the C-SPAN presentation preceded the board action, board members were appreciative and interested in Jablonska’s brief remarks.

She said her crew is looking into history that includes the Carson City Mint, the V&T Railway, and Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain. On Clemens, she said former State Archivist Guy Rocha would be interviewed; on other matters, the mayor and Gov. Brian Sandoval are being interviewed.

The shows, Jablonska said, are set to air Aug. 3-4 on Book TV/C-SPAN2 and on American History TV/C-SPAN3. Charter, C-SPAN’s local partner, can provide more information.