June 29, 2005
The three vice presidents of California's Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority have resigned. Gary S. Foy, vice president of finance and operations; Michael Dominguez, vice president of sales and marketing; and Gary C. Sherwin, vice president of market development and communications, will be leaving the CVA at the end of this week, all in the wake of former president and CEO Michael E. Fife's forced retirement in March. Director of accounting and administration Henry Bolaños also is leaving. Foy and Bolaños had raised the initial accusations of financial impropriety against Fife earlier this year, opening themselves up to accusations of paying more attention to Fife's financial records than to the CVA's. After a month of publicly fraught relations with interim president Steve Morris, including the filing of a lawsuit against Morris for unfair and unreasonable behavior, Foy and Bolaños came to a resignation settlement with the CVA last week. Dominguez then announced his own departure for a hotel position. "I never thought I'd say this," Dominguez told M&C, "but I'm actually looking forward to getting back to the sanity of a hotel." Sherwin resigned voluntarily as well, according to Morris. "Whoever comes on board as the permanent CEO will be able to hire a brand new management team," Morris told M&C. He has appointed Ty Strohe as interim vice president of sales and marketing.

Indianapolis moved one yard closer to getting a new NFL stadium and an expanded convention center Monday when three suburban counties voted on a proposal to increase the food and beverage tax by one percent to help fund the project. In all, six of the seven suburban counties approved the tax, and officials at the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association say the project now has enough momentum to be realized. Though specific designs and timetables have yet to be finalized, the project calls for a new football stadium to be built south of the RCA Dome, the Indianapolis Colts' current home, to be finished in time for the 2008 NFL season. The RCA Dome then will be demolished and an addition to the adjacent Indiana Convention Center built there, to be completed in 2010. The Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority will oversee the estimated $900 million construction project.

Last Friday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill restoring the "established business relationship" exception to the "Junk Fax Prevention Act." The exception has long been sought by associations worried that new Federal Communications Commission rules, which bar commercial faxes from being sent without the recipient's prior written consent, would keep them from reaching their memberships. The exemption, which requires an opt-out provision on the first page of any commercial fax, still must pass muster in the House of Representatives and be signed into law by the president. "The FCC's proposed fax regulations were a knee-jerk response to the wave of consumer sentiment against junk mail, phone solicitations and Internet spam, but the unintended consequences would have been a tremendous burden laid squarely on the shoulders of the business community," said John H. Graham, IV, president/CEO of the American Society of Association Executives.

Peoria (Ill.) Civic Center officials held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for a $55 million expansion and renovation project that includes adding 45,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 27,000-square-foot ballroom to the center. The new space is expected to be available for events by the fall of 2007, bringing the center's total exhibit space to nearly 110,000 square feet.

Destinations Showcase Chicago, a trade show for meeting professionals sponsored by the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus and produced by trade show management firm PGI, will be revamped for 2006, based on feedback from the 2005 event held June 9. Problems cited by the attendees and exhibitors included low attendee turnout, and parking and accessibility difficulties at the show's venue, Navy Pier. According to a spokesperson for PGI, IACVB and PGI are looking into moving the event to a Chicago hotel or keeping it at Navy Pier.