Published: Saturday, November 4, 2006
Tourism bureau elects its first board of directors at annual meeting
The county commissioners' legal adviser says the first election is a milestone.
By ED RUNYAN
WARREN The one-year-old Trumbull County Tourism Bureau has elected its first board of directors.
This week at its annual meeting, about 75 votes were cast out of the bureau's 151 members.
Most of the nine members appointed last year by the local philanthropic organization Trumbull 100 were retained, said Stephanie Sferra, the bureau's executive director.
Two former members chose not to remain on the board. They are Sharon Grover, who has been hired as director of the Geauga County Tourism Council; and Paul McQuillen, manager of Yankee Lake Golf Course in Brookfield, who said work responsibilities were too great for him to continue with the tourism council.
The seven other previously appointed members were elected Thursday to keep their seat.
They are: Mary Ann Porinchak of the National Packard Museum in Warren, current tourism bureau president; Kate Blaney of Sharon Speedway; Dave Smith of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers; Brian Taillon, formerly of Avalon Inn, who left that job to return to college; Nancy Merlo of the Holiday Inn Metroplex; Jim Economos, owner of the Saratoga Restaurant in Warren; and Dennis Malloy Jr. of Whitetails Unlimited.
New to the board
The two new board members are Tawnee Patterson of the Quality Inn Hotel on Belmont Avenue in Liberty; and J.V. Ferrera, owner of Pine Lakes Golf Course in Hubbard.
Porinchak, Patterson and Blaney were elected to one-year terms, while Ferrara, Smith and Taillon were elected to two-year terms. Merlo, Economos and Malloy were elected to three-year terms.
Jason Earnhart, assistant Trumbull County prosecutor and legal adviser to the county commissioners, who drew up the bylaws when the new tourism bureau was formed last year, said the first election is significant because it was "the first time in the history of Trumbull County that the people involved in tourism had a say in the board."
The former Trumbull County Convention & Visitors Bureau was disbanded last year after more than a year's worth of friction between county commissioners and the former bureau over board membership appointments and investment of county lodging tax money.
Sferra said she learned at a recent tourism conference that most tourism boards in Ohio are organized in a way similar to the Trumbull County's new board.
The bureau receives half of the county's 4-percent lodging tax. The other half goes to the Western Reserve Port Authority. The tourism bureau's financial statements say it has received about $246,000 in lodging tax money so far this year.