There were plenty of fireworks at this afternoon's meeting of the Greater Boise Auditorium District Board, even some shouting. But none of it was on the record. In fact, the "official" business of the meeting lasted no longer than a few minutes.
The issue, once again, was the future funding of the Boise Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The BCVB has been operating on little-to-no funding since the GBAD board voted to cut off its income in the summer of 2010. But since then, a new election swayed the majority of the GBAD board to be more favorable when it comes to the future viability of BCVB. But a series of meetings have included a fair amount of discontent and a sharply divided board.
Simply put, BCVB is running out of time. If an operating agreement can not be hammered out with GBAD by Friday, Aug. 19, GBAD will pull its offer off the negotiating table and BCVB will be hard pressed to keep its doors open, in spite of a pending $600,000 grant from the Idaho State Travel Council. BCVB President Bobbie Patterson confirmed to Citydesk today that without operating funds from GBAD, her staff will not be able to perform the functions required for the Idaho Travel Council grant.
But one minute into this afternoon's meeting, the GBAD board went into executive session, sending the public out of the room. GBAD Board Chairman Hy Kloc said the session "should only last a minute or two." But the doors remained closed for nearly an hour.
Citydesk heard shouting through the closed doors, and later GBAD Board Member Judy Peavey-Derr confirmed to Citydesk that indeed she had raised her voice to fellow Board Member Mike Fitzgerald (who attended the meeting via telephone).
"He said there were efforts to dissolve the auditorium district," said Peavey-Derr. "I don't respond well to threats."
Kloc confirmed to Citydesk that Fitzgerald made the comment and that, "Nobody responds well to threats. But we've heard those rumors for a while now." Kloc told Citydesk that he didn't think Fitzgerald was saying anything threatening, but "He was reporting on a threat he heard about. The rest is history."
Ultimately, the board voted 4-1 (with Fitzgerald, Kloc, Peavey-Derr and Stephanie Astorquia voting for and Gail May voting against) to continue negotiations on a proposed operating agreement with BCVB that as of today totals $288,128, including an in-kind contribution for rent.
If the agreement passes legal muster and the dollars are right, Peavey-Derr and Kloc said they were optimistic for a deal.
"But we need to start dealing with the facts," said Peavey-Derr.