On February 8, 2008, The Free Lance–Star published a story about the new visitors center:
So Caroline administrations are preparing by taking applications for the county’s first full-time tourism manager, a position that will probably be filled this month.
So far, about 65 people have applied for the additional manager position, which will pay between $36,145 and $54,468, plus benefits.
Whoever is hired will not only manage the $2.4 million, 5,000-square-foot center just off Interstate 95, but also help promote such attractions as the State Fair, which opens next year at The Meadow, birthplace of Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
On February 26, 2008, Gary Wilson published a press release stating that Kathy Beard had been hired to serve as the tourism manager for Caroline County. Her qualifications:
Beard served as the Director of Economic Development & Tourism for the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia from 1995 to 2003 and in recent years has served as an Executive Vice President for the Stafford Council for Progress and as an economic development consultant for the Town of Bowling Green.
Beard attended West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas and holds an Institute of Organizational Management certification from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
On February 29, 2008, The Free Lance–Star published a story (p. B5) that was nothing more than a rewording of Gary Wilson’s press release.
Let me say that I find her qualifications lacking:
Is this the same Stafford Council for Progress that doesn’t even possess a functioning website? Isn’t the Stafford Council for Progress “a research organization representing the development industry in Stafford”?
According to Wilson’s own press release, this person doesn’t even possess a college diploma — not even an associates degree — only a certificate.
A person that is supposed to manage a $2,400,000, 5,000 square foot facility and receive between $36,145 and $54,468 (plus benefits), who lacks a college degree, is hired over at least 64 other people? Of course, the sheriff’s office functioned wonderfully for twelve years under similar leadership.
Let me throw something else out there: This person (Beard) serves as an economic development consultant for Bowling Green. Surely her hiring had nothing to do with the fact that the wife (Susan Sili) of a current Board of Supervisors member (Jeff Sili) is on the Town Council for Bowling Green? Right?
Surely, I’m must be wrong about this but, alas, Mrs. Sili, using the alias of oharascarlett, knew about Beard’s application and was talking her up on Fredtalk, on February 16, 2008:
64 people applied (and yes ken was in the newpspaper) for the job of toursim director for Caroline County, top salary at present, 54,000 dollars. only 2 applicants were from Caroline. One of the applicants was the former, Economic Development Director of Fredericksburg.
And on February 17, 2008:
yep and funny you should mention Fredericksburg’s tourism organization, there is quite a bit of interest from that direction in the new job here in Caroline.
This was over a week before there had been an official announcement about the hiring of Beard.
Consider a dig through of the Bowling Green Town Council minutes:
CE&O, Inc. (Kathy Beard’s company) has received $50,635.33 from the town since December 2004. $50,635.33 for three years for a town that has a population of 1,013 people. Amazing. Nice to see where that $0.17 per $100 assessed real estate tax and $1.20 per $100 assessed personal property tax are going.
Care to guess who was involved with CE&O, Inc.’s contract with the town of Bowling Green? If you guess Susan Sili you get a special prize! From the February 2, 2006 minutes of the Town Council minutes:
The Town Manager’s report is as follows with some additional discussion during the meeting that are in italics:
1. CE&O Contract and related matters – I met with the Economic Development Committee (Susan Sili and Glenn McDearmon) and we bring two items to Town Council for consideration, and we recommend the approval of both matters.
1. Approval of proposal and contract for “Economic Development and Promotional Services” with CE&O, Inc. (Kathy Beard).
On motion by Sili, seconded by Wright, Council voted to accept the Contract as proposed by CE&O, Inc. (Kathy Beard) for Economic Development projects and allow the Mayor to sign on behalf of the Council. Voting Aye: Allen, Wright, Haley, Parke, McDearmon, Ketterman, Sili.
The TM [town manger] asked for authorization to negotiate a contract with CE&O which would include, at a minimum, the planning and arranging of the 18th Annual Harvest Festival, creation and distribution of four Town newsletters, preparation and planning of a Clean Sweep event, arranging of Second Friday events, and additional marketing activities, as needed.
Ms. Sili said she would like input from the business community regarding which economic services are helping and which ones are not.
On motion by Sili, seconded by Wright, Council voted to allow the Town Manager to work with the Economic Development Committee and negotiate a contract with CE&O to provide economic development services and activities for the coming fiscal year in an amount not to exceed $37,000.00, with the Mayor signing the contract.
Beard also seems to be buddies with current Speaker Bill Howell (R) of the Virginia House of Delegates according to The Washington Times:
“He [Howell] has always had a calming presence in the region and he likes to do his business face to face,” said Kathy J. Beard, director of the Office of Economic Development and Tourism for Fredericksburg, who sits on several community boards with Mr. Howell.
And on her experience with Fredericksburg, consider this from The Free Lance–Star:
Kathy Beard, outgoing director of Fredericksburg’s Economic Development and Tourism office, agrees that the conference center is just what the city needs to draw more visitors for longer stays.
This is the same conference center that the city of Fredericksburg is considering subsidizing now!
Ms. Beard also seems to be unfamiliar with the intricacies of the proffer system as well: Proffers = high density = crime:
One of the things that Kathy Beard of the Stafford Council for Progress failed to mention in her op-ed is that in order for Stafford County to receive proffers from developers, they must first rezone the property that will produce the proffer [“Stafford supervisors need to reassess the current growth policies,” Oct. 5].
Keep in mind that the SCP is an organization of builders, developers, landowners, and business owners. Their motivation may serve a different master than the welfare of Stafford County.
Well said. Now that leadership comes to Caroline County under suspicious and odd circumstances.