CLEARFIELD – A local hotel manager questioned the Clearfield County Commissioners during the public comment period at Tuesday’s meeting regarding the two recent appointments made to the county’s recreation and tourism authority.
Last week the commissioners appointed Mark Burnett, general manager of the DuBois Comfort Suites Hotel, and Commissioner Chairman John A. Sobel to the CCRTA. Sobel will now serve on the board with Commissioners Tony Scotto and Mark B. McCracken.
According to previously published GANT News reports, the commissioners had received numerous letters of interest and conducted interviews with those interested in filling the CCRTA vacancies.
On Tuesday Angela Stewart, general manager of the Homewood Suites, DuBois, questioned “why it seems right” for Sobel to be appointed when the commissioners conducted the interviews.
“I find that to be a little questionable,” she said. “How is someone going to conduct interviews for other people to sit as a board member on CCRTA but is then appointed themselves?”
Stewart noted it was not only questionable to her, but also to the many others, like herself, who were a part of the interview process. She also said they found out via the press about the appointments to the CCRTA.
She then asked what the commissioners were taking into consideration and if it was possible to increase the number of CCRTA board members to 13 people as permitted by the authority’s bylaws.
According to Stewart, members of the hotel tax committee had previously discussed their concerns over CCRTA appointments with McCracken. She said before the process began to fill the board vacancies, people expressed that they didn’t want to submit letters of interest to the commissioners.
“They felt their letters of interest were going to be disregarded,” she said. “And, with the last appointment, that’s the general consensus. Nine of us were interviewed for due process, and it didn’t matter that we submitted letters of interest anyway.
“You have people with such background in tourism and hospitality, and they were not even, in our opinions, considered for the board.”
Sobel said to answer Stewart’s questions, the reasoning for his appointment to the CCRTA was because the commissioners have some questions about the direction of recreation and tourism.
“I don’t believe there is any long-term plan to keep three commissioners on the board,” he said. “… There will be additional openings coming up.”
So far as a board expansion to 13 people, Sobel said he supposed they could, but it would be a decision for the CCRTA.