This decision came at the recommendation of the Unified Organization
Committee, which has been meeting for the past several weeks. The
recommendation was presented last week to the Logan County Board by
Jan Schumacher and to the city of Lincoln by Mayor Keith Snyder,
with both city and county being asked to endorse the recommendation
so the committee may move forward to the next step of achieving this
Chamber on board
On Tuesday evening, at their second meeting of the month, Andi
Hake of the chamber told the board members of the tourism bureau
that the chamber's board of directors has also endorsed the
Tourism tentatively on board
The tourism bureau's board discussed the topic briefly. That
board has two members who had not been informed of recent
developments with the Unified Organization Committee. Hake
volunteered to discuss this with them further at a later date. By a
straw vote, it appeared that tourism will also endorse the plan at
its next meeting.
On the city level, Snyder explained to aldermen what work has
been done thus far, saying the committee studied the four
organizations and looked at who the customer is in each group and
how the group works to promote local business and attract visitors
to the community.
He said the purpose of melding the four groups into one was to
first eliminate redundancy of service. Working under one primary
director, there will be greater unity of all four components, with
each one filling specific roles.
The goal is to create a board of directors who are
competency-based with knowledge in particular fields and can work as
At the tourism meeting, Hake said she perceived the future as
being one organization with four subgroups. Therefore, the tourism
bureau, for example, would be more of a committee and less of a
board. The membership would consist of people who are knowledgeable
and capable of leading efforts to promote all tourism in Logan
Snyder had told the city council that with the unified group,
there would be a head director, but also as time progressed and
finances were worked out, he could see this organization also having
qualified staff who could work with the agency on the whole as well
as the various parts.
Late last week Tom O'Donohue and Andy Anderson, who represent the
city and county, respectively, on the tourism board, said they felt
this was a good move that would help bring visitors to the Logan
County community. O'Donohue added that he envisioned there being one
staff member from the unified group who would work specifically with
tourism and answer to the executive director and the unified board.
Anderson also indicated that while the vote has not yet been
taken, he believes the county board is going to endorse the new,
In discussion on the city side of the issue, Marty Neitzel seemed
to be most concerned about the role of the chamber. She noted the
chamber does great things in Lincoln and Logan County and is a
membership-based organization. She told the council that she feels
this can work, but it is going to be important that the chamber name
still be represented in the unified organization.
When the motion came to a vote at city council Monday night, all
eight members voted in favor. Neitzel did, however, qualify her
vote, saying, "yes, as long as it is called the chamber."
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In a report prepared by consultant Marit Peters and presented by
Schumacher to the Logan County Board last week, one section
identifies the current status of the various organizations involved
as including the city and county. The report states among other
things that the redundancy of services has made it unclear who is to
champion the work of downtown revitalization and redevelopment. It
also notes that community volunteers are spending their time on
various boards and committees and wearing themselves thin trying to
be a part of many things. It was also noted there is an issue with
having a long-term, high-quality executive director for the tourism
bureau and for the development partnership.
It notes that the work of Main Street Lincoln has been laid on
one employee, and the organization works with a small budget. In
another comment on Main Street, the report says the role of that
organization is not to lead any specific strategic effort, but
rather to be a supporter of a larger vision, and that the
organization's reputation may alienate folks who are not brought
into the brand.
It concludes by saying there does not appear to be a clear
definition of success and results for each of the organizations, and
that some do have strategic plans, while others do not.
Peters' report provides the Unified Organization Committee with a
suggested vision statement and purpose statement.
It then outlines a recommendation for a board of directors,
saying members should be competency-based, highly engaged, informed
natural leaders who represent the county, the city, tourism,
downtown, startup and business attraction, development and retention
of business, health and wellness, education, public relations and
communications, finance, and legal.
The report ends with a summary of financial support, saying that
with the combined funding of the various organization budgets, there
is enough money to provide for hiring competent, experienced,
quality staff for the new organization.
For all the parties involved -- county, city, chamber, the
development partnership, Main Street and the tourism bureau -- to
endorse the suggestion of a unified organization is only the first
step in what will be a process estimated to take several months.
When all the parties are behind the plan, the Unified
Organization Committee will then move on to the next stages of
implementation. To date, what those next steps will be has not been
outlined for the public.
[By NILA SMITH]