Two resign at tourism board meeting

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The atmosphere was tense at a Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority meeting this morning.

The director waited hours into the afternoon to learn her fate, and two board members also resigned.

We have more on the points of contention at the heated discussion inside the Visit Clearfield County office.

“You have called my chairmanship into question,” CCRTA chairman Hildred Rowles said.

First up was a 5-4 vote on who’s the chairman, which went to County Commissioner John Sobel.

Then, questions were raised about whether Sobel and DuBois Comfort Suites general manager Mark Burnett were legally appointed to the board.

Opponents say that’s because Sobel participated in interviews for those two vacancies,  and then ended up on the board himself.

“You shouldn’t have been conducting the interviews,” board member Randy Schmidt said.

One tense exchange involved three different people.

“We’re either following the by-laws or we’re following the municipal code,” says Rowles. “We should have the right to appoint.”

“But then even in the by-laws it says..but look at the by-laws,” says board member/County Commissioner Tony Scotto.

“We never followed the by-laws in 10 years, why are you saying that now?” says CCRTA executive director Holly Komonczi. 

“Holly, settle down,” says Sobel.

A 5-4 vote, with Sobel and Burnett in the five, and they stayed on the board.

A third 5-4 vote took place to approve minutes from Thursday’s meeting.

Sobel said he doesn’t like how the CCRTA is gobbling up money with staff, vehicles, and supplies.

“When you have a situation where more than 50 percent of the moneys are used to feed the beast, I think that’s wrong,” says Sobel. “Like some great, fat tick getting gorged on the blood of the rec and tourism moneys.”

Sobel was also upset about Komonczi’s actions during the Clearfield County Fair parade while riding in the tourism van.

Komonczi told us that she was greeting two old friends near Bob’s Army & Navy by giving them the finger.

“There were hundreds of children along the parade route. I know that because I was throwing out candy to them and I ran out of candy half a block from the Driving Park,” says Sobel.

“Who decides what’s obscene?” says Komonczi.

“Be quiet. Be quiet Holly. I want order,” says Sobel.

Rowles says the matter was handled with a reprimand in August during executive session.

“You said, ‘I handled this already, you already started saying I handled this,” says Scotto about that session. “As a commissioner, I went back to talk to my fellow commissioners.”

At this, audience members exclaimed and said “whoa,” prompting Sobel to yell: “Order!”

“Tony left an executive meeting and spread the word to the public who had no idea what had even happened,” says Komonczi, accusing them of “defaming” her.

Sobel said he personally went asking the Grimminger family about the incident.

“I was playing with my friends of over 20 years. There happened to be someone standing there. Bonnie saw it,” says Komonczi, referring to another board member.
 
“I’m done. I resign,” Rowles said during the meeting.

Rowles walked out and then soon after,  Schmidt resigned too, leaving seven members.

After a two-hour executive session, the remaining board members voted 5-2 for a 30-day suspension without pay for Komonczi, and a public apology.

“I would like to apologize to anyone I may have upset with my actions while on company time,” says Komonczi.

The board also voted to let the actions of the prior meeting stand.
 

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