Squabbling over CVB needs to end soon

Published 1:10 am Friday, March 18, 2016

Hopefully soon the Natchez mayor and board of aldermen can put an end to the squabbling at the Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission and the city’s tourism management department can get back down to the business of selling Natchez to visitors.

Members of the commission are correct in questioning the alleged spending of CVB director Kevin Kirby. They appear to contend by their actions at least that Kirby purchased a car for his use without prior approval.

They’ve also gone so far as to revoke Kirby’s financial authority at the CVB, confiscated keys to the car and took away his CVB credit car. Clearly, members of the commission are upset and worried about the CVB’s finances.

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One would believe that if members of the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission had the authority to terminate him, it would seem in the cards. The catch is, apparently, they don’t. Kirby is a city employee answerable to the mayor and board of aldermen.

When the issues first arose and tempers were flaring, the mayor suggested a cooling off period, which we agreed was a good idea.

Since that time, aldermen have met behind closed doors with members of the NCPC and separately with Kirby and his attorney.

Aldermen said this week they needed additional time to make any decisions.

The closed-door meetings need to end. If Kirby has done some wrongdoing and misspent public funds — CVB funds come almost entirely from tax sources — then aldermen owe it to city residents to explain what’s happened and how they plan to fix it.

Residents already question the city’s own financial management. If they don’t get on with resolving the CVB leadership issues one-way or the other, the public will question the city’s motives even further.