Brooklyn Center Stays the Course with Tourism Bureau
“If we went it alone, consider this — the CEO, all of the attention would come to us,” said Brooklyn Center City Council Member Dan Jerzak.
Minneapolis Northwest Tourism was founded in 1986. The organization, which is funded by city lodging taxes, promotes tourism and hospitality for its member cities.
Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center were all members until Maple Grove withdrew from the organization two years ago.
Following Maple Grove’s departure, Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park considered withdrawing as well. They ultimately stayed, but restructured the nonprofit.
About two weeks ago, the Brooklyn Park City Council decided to withdraw from the organization, claiming it had breached its contract.
At the time, Brooklyn Park Mayor Hollies Winston and city staff members said the nonprofit ignored their feedback. They also questioned the process the tourism bureau used to hire a new CEO.
The Brooklyn Center City Council refused to follow suit, although the decision was not unanimous.
Board Member Defends Organization
Brett Hildreth, a real estate broker and Minneapolis Northwest Tourism board member, defended the organization.
Regarding an alleged breach of contract, “I think they’re allegations that are — I just think they’re unfounded,” he said.
He said the organization’s process hiring a new CEO was “very good.”
Minneapolis Northwest Tourism Board Chair said the nonprofit provides wrap-around services to city businesses and is working to bring a basketball tournament to the city.
Mayor April Graves Questions Tourism Bureau
Brooklyn Center Mayor April Graves offered a less positive view of the organization.
“These meetings — I felt it was extremely dysfunctional,” she said.
She also questioned the hiring process for the CEO, claiming a candidate for CEO was also responsible for hiring a search firm to find a new CEO.
“I was not happy with how that process went,” she said. “Not the contract making in the very beginning of the year, and not the CEO search at the end.”
Council Stays the Course in 3-2 Vote
Ultimately, the council voted 3-2 to continue working with Minneapolis Northwest Tourism. Brooklyn Center City Council Member Marquita Butler and Graves cast dissenting votes.
“I don’t agree that we’re just going to go along with Brooklyn Park — we’re separate entities, we have completely different amenities in our city, and frankly I think if we have the opportunity to be the only one, Brooklyn Center is going to be the 100 percent focus,” said Brooklyn Center City Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson.