|unfortunate that county commissioner Bill Canda felt the need to summon the appointed members of the Custer County Tourism Board to a public meeting on April 30 to confront and dress them down on spurious charges, which resulted in the resignation of tourism board chair Bob Weisenbach.
Canda had fallen prey to false allegations made by an ex-member of the tourism board who claimed the five current members of the board have no connection to the tourism industry. In fact, all five – Weisenbach, Greg Smith, Rene Smith (no relation), Brent Bruser and Angie Arterburn – have current or former connections to the industry, and their valid appointments to the board followed the guidelines of the board’s bylaws. Weisenbach had been a member of the board since its inception in 2007.
Canda’s motivation for all this is unclear. The tourism board has been running smoothly, monitoring the county’s two-percent “pillow tax” on local lodging and using those funds – approximately $31,000 last year – to market and promote Custer County. The organization has been running smoothly; it collects and distributes its lodging tax funds as per protocol; its members are all dedicated to the cause. Canda, who likes to portray himself as a “listener,” could have learned what he needed to know without subjecting the tourism board to public and vitriolic humiliation.
Here’s what Canda accomplished: any qualified citizen who may want to serve on one of the county’s appointed boards will give second thoughts to the opportunity at fear of being a victim to Canda’s wrath. He owes the community – and specifically Weisenbach – an apology.