The Board of Trade (BOT) soon could be decommissioned. Kern County supervisors Tuesday indicated they support a plan to phase out the 10-person advisory committee.
The Kern County Board of Trade is supposed to advise and serve as a liaison between the Board of Supervisors and Kern’s tourism and film industry.
However, Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said Tuesday the BOT’s work in recent years has been more ceremonial than functional. He argued county staff members have taken on the job for which the BOT was created.
Alsop also argued, the BOT in recent years promoted Kern tourism with methods of the past instead of the technology of the future, including social media. He recommended the Board of Supervisors decommission the BOT.
“They are no longer providing the kind of value that requires their continued existence,” Alsop said. “There is concern that this is the county turning its back on tourism. That is patently false,” he continued, noting county employees will continue to carry the work to bring tourists into Kern County.
But Linda Parker, a member of the advisory committee for 15 years, said the county did not provide notice of the proposal to decommission the BOT. She also said since its important not forget since its founding more than a hundred years ago, the board of trade has greatly benefited Kern County.
“We know that we made a difference,” she said. “And I think it was so upsetting to all of us on the advisory board because we weren’t talked to at all about this. We have so much to offer at this point, and if we lose all the economic tourism dollars, that’s going to be a travesty.”
Alsop apologized for the lack of communication.
Supervisors ultimately approved the decommissioning of the BOT so long as the county meets with BOT members about what is expected to happen next. The county then will need to provide a report on the meeting.
Members of the Board of Supervisors thanked Parker for her service, as well as others in attendance, including Jim Baldwin, who announced his retirement from the Board of Trade after 25 years of service.