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5/10/2018 Tourism board chair steps down after confrontation
The Custer County Tourism Board (CCTB) has one less board member after the May 2 resignation of Bob Weisenbach, which was effective immediately. Weisenbach had served as chairman of the Tourism Board since its inception a decade ago. The Board of County Commissioners met with the Tourism Board members on Monday, April 30, in a contentious exchange. County commissioner Bill Canda questioned the qualifications of members of the CCTB. Members of the CCTB were summoned to attend the BOCC meeting so the issue of “membership requirements” could be addressed. Canda argued that a resolution signed in 2007 when the tourism board was established by then commissioners Richard Downey, Kit Shy, and Carole Custer, states in part, ”at least three persons from the tourism industry within the county of Custer, appointed by the commissioners of Custer County.” Commissioner Canda contended in his email to Commissioners Printz and Tom Flower, and County Attorney Clint Smith dated Thursday, March 8, that Bob Weisenbach, Rene Smith and Greg Smith, either may not or do not meet the requirements to serve on the CCTB. This was all in response to Canda’s email to Smith dated March 7, where Smith told him that it stated, “clearly in the resolution submitted to the voters for approval, it is a statutory mandate.” Smith walked this back during the meeting last Monday. Canda would like to see a change in the CCTB by-laws to “partially resolve this by allowing members not meeting membership requirements to become ex-officio members, allowing us (the county) to take advantage of their expertise.” It can be argued that one does not need to be currently working within the industry, but could have experience or a background in it, previously. There seems to be ambiguity in the wording. Bob Weisenbach has a lot of prior experience in the tourism industry as he and his wife, Margaret, owned a bed and breakfast in Aspen for over 20 years prior to moving to Westcliffe. Canda argued that he is,”retired and not working in that area now.” After many raised voices and shouting, Canda told the CCTB to explore their by-laws and further define, “what is tourism.” It is difficult to get citizens to serve on boards in Custer County. Members of the CCTB argued that they were clearly vetted and approved by the BOCC. Canda stated that he had two citizens interested in serving on the board contact him, and they are currently working in tourism. After speaking to the Tribune last Tuesday, Canda further stated that he was contacted by two other persons interested in serving on the CCTB board. In a statement to the Tribune, Canda stated, the commissioners are not out to get the Tourism Board. He did tell the Tribune, however, that his questioning of the board member’s qualifications came after a meeting with ex-CCTB member and porn author Jax Bubis who sought an investigation into the matter. Bubis herself has no involvement in the tourism industry. – Tracy Ballard