by John Grooms
Last night, City Council reprimanded the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, but still agreed to give it one-fourth of the $10 million needed for the upcoming fiscal year. Council went through a coded dance, in which they told CRVA that it is still on the Council's shit list ... but well, here, take this anyway. Earlier in the day, CRVA finally came up with an actual written report from a consultant (see CL's story on the subject, published this week), thus giving the appearance that they respect Councils authority; that effectively blocked any move to cut off funding completely, since according to the code, CRVA had done what council requested in its last meeting.
Council members who are up in arms about CRVA management specifically, the board's lackadaisical approach toward the increasingly well-documented ethical lapses of Tim Newman, the groups CEO let the organization have it last night. As expected, Councilman Warren Cooksey, the former head of CRVAs predecessor organization, defended CRVA, saying Council was overstepping its bounds (Huh? By controlling city governments purse strings? Thats their your job, Warren). Cooksey, indicating that he has apparently missed the whole point of the publics ire over Newmans oily glad-handing, declared, "Everyone who relies on that tax says the CRVA is doing a fantastic job." Sometimes, you gotta laugh at these guys sense of entitlement. Yeah, I bet they think that, Warren especially when they can line up for all the freebies doled out by Tim the Walking House Party.
Cooksey also complained that Council hasnt given CRVA a clear indication of what its looking for. Cooksey is being disingenuous here, since he and CRVA can ostensibly pick up the code as well as any outside observer. For the record, Warren, heres precisely what Council and Foxx want: Tim Newmans head on a plate. The real problem here, as I see it, is that they wont just come out and say it. Sure, Council is in a bind because it cant fire Newman; it only appoints the CRVA board. And it's true, too, that CRVA has the support of the Uptown money crowd. But still, it should be perfectly OK in a city this size for the mayor and Council members to come out and openly say that Newman has to go. The leftover mannerisms of Old Charlotte gentility, however, prevent it, which results in Foxx having to go around his ass to get to his elbow, winding up in the endless discussions were seeing now, where the parties go around and around, never saying precisely what they mean. CRVA is showing that it's willing to push back against the mayor and Council, so its going to be interesting to see what the board decides within the week about re-upping Newmans contract. Theyve been floating the idea of letting Newman continue as CEO, but without a contract. Heaven knows how Foxx and Council would respond to that. If they have enough courage, though, theyre talking to CRVA board members right now, demanding Newmans resignation. But that is a big if.