Dallas City Council criticizes policies and procedures of VisitDallas


Dallas City Council members chastised representatives of VisitDallas, the city’s tourism bureau, during a meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, with one council member saying, “It’s time you realized who your boss is.”

VisitDallas has experienced plenty of turmoil in the past year. A January audit revealed excessive spending and questionable metrics, which led to the resignation of president and CEO Phillip Jones in May. Although VisitDallas initially reported that chief financial officer Matthew Jones also resigned that month, The Texas Monitor discovered he had been fired.

Interim president and CEO Sam Coats told the city council that a handful of sales executives were also fired in recent months, the Morning News reported.

VisitDallas will soon vote on a proposal to reduce its 55-member board to as few as 20 members. Council members expressed approval for the concept during Wednesday’s meeting, although some want a complete turnover of board members and for most, if not all, of the members to live in Dallas, the newspaper reported. 

The council will vote in November on whether to renew the city’s contract with VisitDallas that expires next September. The council must decide by the spring to either extend that deal or look at other options. If the contract is renewed, council members said, it will require better record-keeping and increased transparency on financial data in accordance with recommendations from the audit.

Council member Cara Mendelsohn told city staff during the meeting to look for a new agency to market Dallas.

“If you’re thinking we’re just going to extend the contract the way it is,” Mendelsohn said to VisitDallas representatives, according to the Morning News, “I don’t think that will happen.”



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