A new board president
When the city of Lincoln took over administration of the hotel/motel
tax in December of last year, the restructuring of the bureau began
with new board appointments and officer elections. At their first
meeting in December, Logan County board member, Andy Anderson was
elected to serve as the board president.
On June 24th, Anderson resigned as president and a new election was
held. In the end, Tom O’Donohue was elected to the position of
Anderson spoke about the decision to resign saying that he has
several committee commitments in his position on the Logan County
Board, and there are scheduling conflicts. He said he felt that
because of this, he was not an effective board member for either
entity. He recently told LDN, “It was the right decision to make for
everyone. The tourism board is in very good hands with Tom O’Donohue.
It was the right thing to do.”
A new interim director
Since the resignation of Geoff Ladd as tourism director last year,
the bureau has gone through a number of interim directors, all hired
with the understanding their job would be only temporary while the
board worked on a reorganization plan.
At the first July meeting of the board on the 10th, it was decided
that Andi Hake would be appointed as the interim executive director
until a permanent full-time person is hired.
As a result of this, Hake had to resign from the tourism board, and
is no longer a voting member.
A new board member
With Hake resigning from the board, there was an opening available
for a new member. At the meeting on July 10, Keith Snyder said he
wanted to fill that position with Kristi Powell. The board approved
his recommendation, and it went before the Lincoln City County on
July 21. They also approved the recommendation.
At the July 22nd meeting of the tourism board, Powell attended her
first meeting and was welcomed to the board.
Powell is well known in the community as an active member of the
Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce, Associate Director of Heartland
College’s Lincoln Center
Enrollment Services, one who volunteers for many local events and
projects, and wife of local businessman Deron Powell.
A new logo
The board continues to work with marketing specialists DCC Marketing
in creating a new brand and image for the bureau. This week the
board approved a new logo for the bureau.
The goal of the bureau is to make Logan County a "destination
location" for tourists. The logo is simple and to the point;
“Destination Logan County Illinois.”
Tuesday evening the last decision to be made was the color scheme of
the logo. Board members looked at two options, dark blue background
with bright green lettering or bright green background with dark
blue lettering. They chose the latter. The new logo will start
appearing publicly in the near future.
In addition, though there has been no official name change of the
bureau, the board is steering away from “Abraham Lincoln Tourism
Bureau of Logan County” and now more often referring to itself as
the “Logan County Tourism Bureau.”
Tourism endorses UOC
At this week’s meeting, O’Donohue asked for a motion regarding the
endorsement of the United Organizations. When he opened the floor
for discussion after the motion, Anderson commented he felt like the
topic had been discussed thoroughly, and all the board needed to do
now was take the vote. By nod of the head, board members agreed. A
vote was taken and with all seven members present, and passed
Hake offers update on the search for permanent Executive Director
Hake told the board that the search for a new executive director for
the bureau is coming down to the wire, and she is hopeful an offer
can be made to a candidate by August 1.
She said there were several applications received, and it had been
narrowed down to four candidates. She said she had conducted
telephone interviews with two of the four on Tuesday and would do
interviews with the other two on Thursday, July 24.
She said the interviews on Tuesday had been with “outstanding
candidates” and added that if the other two were equally as good,
the board would have a tough decision.
She asked for permission to make appointments for face-to-face
interviews with the board members and candidates on July 31. Three
board members; O’Donohue, Powell and Jean Bruner-Jachino committed
to being available for those interviews.
If an offer is made, the position will be full-time with a one-year
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Update on grant
The bureau receives a grant through the State of Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency.
The bureau is expected to file quarterly reports on the
expenditures of the grant. O’Donohue said Tuesday there had been
some issues with the grant, but emails received this week from
the state indicated those were worked out.
Hake went on to say she had talked with people at the state, and
the state is “okay with our position.” She said she had asked
about a quarterly report that is due next week and learned there
would be someone available from the state to assist her in
preparing that report.
She also indicated the state has a stringent deadline of July
30, and missing that deadline could have dire consequences. “I
will not let us miss that deadline,” she said. “And here’s what
happens if we do miss it. One day, one and two and probably
three and four, we will get inundated with not friendly emails,
and on day five we get locked out.”
Hake said that she had come to realize that there had been no
recent tracking of the grant expenditures. But in talking with
the state, she now knows what needs to be gathered together. She
said she was confident that everything will be ready on time.
Changes in financial reporting to the board
Hake discussed the financial reports now being offered to the
board. Robin Keyes has been contracted to do the tourism's
accounting. The board will now receive each month -- a profit
and loss statement, copies of bank reconciliations, and a list
of bills to be paid. She said to save paper she will not be
supplying copies of the bills to board members, but will have a
copy available at the meetings for inspection as needed.
O’Donohue also discussed Keyes roll in tourism. Keyes works as a
part-time employee for the chamber, but also does independent
contract work as an accountant. The bureau has hired her to do
tourism accounting, and this position is in no way connected to
As Keyes began working on the tourism financials, there was more
to be done to get an accounting system setup than expected; so
Keyes first billings were higher than originally expected. Now
that records are in better order, her hours will go back to what
had been originally projected.
In addition, O’Donohue noted Keyes can do the tourism payroll
and quarterly reports. Therefore, the bureau no longer needs the
services of Abbott and Associates for those tasks. It was also
mentioned that the bureau does go through a year-end audit, and
Abbotts may be candidates to perform that audit.
Tourism booths at fair and festival
The bureau will have booths setup this year at both the Logan
County Fair and the Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival.
Tuesday evening Hake said she had spent $1,900 to order 450
T-shirts to give away at these two events. The bureau will have
a “duck pond” with a number of gifts marked on the ducks,
including the T-shirts.
In order to draw a duck from the pond, one must fill out a card
with contact information and indicate they are interested in
being a volunteer for tourism at future events.
At the July 10th meeting, O’Donohue had told the board members
that he wanted to see 100 percent involvement from them in the
bureau, including volunteering to serve at local events. The
first opportunity would be to volunteer to spend time manning
the booth at the fair.
This week, Hake said the board had come through pretty well.
Between board members and tourism staff, most of the time slots
for the fair booth were filled. O’Donohue said once everyone had
who was able to commit had done so, he would take on the slots
that are left empty.
Board will meet only once in August
As the last order of business Tuesday night, O’Donohue suggested
that in lieu of all that will be going on in the community in
August, perhaps the board should meet only once that month. It
was decided they group will hold their August 14 meeting and
cancel the meeting slated for August 26.
[By NILA SMITH]