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Franklin commissioners to revamp TDC board rules

After several weeks of discussion, Franklin County commissioners plan to make changes as to who and how members are selected on the Tourist Development Council board, including getting rid of the designation of two seats that had been earmarked for representatives of the Apalachicola and Carrabelle chambers of commerce.

At their April 2 meeting, the board voted in favor of a change that will bring the appointments strictly in line with state rules, which call for the nine-member board to be populated by a representative of the county commission, representatives of each of the two cities, either three or four to be from entities who pay the three-cent lodging tax and the remained to be of people involved in the tourist industry.

An initial draft of rules had called for geographic diversity, but Commissioner Cheryl Sanders argued that any limitations to the west side of the county would be unfair to those who reside from Carrabelle east through Lanark Village and Alligator Point to the Wakulla County line.

For a number of reasons, including the fact that the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce has a contract to manage the TDC, and the fact that the president of that chamber board also serves as Apalachicola’s representative, commissioners had pushed against there being an earmark for chambers’ representatives. 

Six weeks ago the commissioners declined to act on a move by St. George Islanders to replace two outgoing members of the TDC board whose terms were expiring with two named St. George Islanders they were recommending. The commissioners postponed any discussion on accepting the recommendations until they had hammered out revisions to the policy.

As it stands now, they have decided that the new policy they want County Attorney Michael Shuler to draft would require that all TDC board members have to reapply when their terms expire, that the county commission will serve as the review committee for applications, and that representatives of the two cities can be recommended by the cities but, like all other candidates require county commission approval.

They plan to have no geographic requirements, only that as per state statute they be electors within the county.

“A lot of people want to serve but they feel they don’t have a chance to get their foot in the door,” said Chairman Ricky Jones. “They find they’re on the outside looking in.”

Office Amison said that as in the case of the airport board, “I’m looking out for the best qualified” and that by having the commission having a stronger hand in the decision making, “it gives us where we can go back and say we really like that appointment.”

Sanders, who served as a commissioner when the TDC was first enacted, said a lot has changed since then.

“When it was a $1 million you didn’t see nobody who wanted to be on that board,” she said. “At one cent nobody wants it. Now that it’s 3 cents, wowwee, we have some ideas!”

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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