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Tuesday, 10 February 2015 21:31

Chamber Terminates Tourism and Marketing Contract with City, Council Approves Competitive Bid Process

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Chamber Terminates Tourism and Marketing Contract with City, Council Approves Competitive Bid Process TurlockCityNews.com
Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Silva submitted a notice to terminate the $249,253 contract with the City of Turlock regarding the Convention and Visitors Bureau on Tuesday.

CVB, which was ran by the Chamber of Commerce, is charged with marketing for the community with the goal of making the city a more attractive place for potential visitors as a means of bringing in outside dollars. Per the City, the goal of the program is increased convention sales, tourism marketing and services.

Turlock City Council was scheduled to vote on an action item to begin a 90-day termination of the contract and opening a competitive process to reward marketing and tourism services for the City of Turlock.

"I met with the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce today and we had a very frank, productive, and positive conversation,” said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth in a statement. “I applaud them for two decades of marketing service for the City and continue to encourage them to compete for the contract."

If the item had been approved on Tuesday night by a majority vote, the CVB management contract between the City of Turlock and Chamber of Commerce was to be terminated in 90 days from the vote, on May 3 of this year.

The vote never took place, as Silva, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s Council meeting, notified the City that the Chamber would terminate the contract, following a meeting on Tuesday with City Manager Roy Wasden, City Attorney Phaedra Norton and Mayor Soiseth.

“After a lot of soul searching, the Chamber Executive Board has made the decision that we would move forward and give the 90-day notice, saving you a lot of trouble to move forward with your RFP for the Convention and Visitors Bureau,” said Silva on Tuesday night.

On Nov. 18, 2014, the then-Council, which included former Turlock Mayor John Lazar and former Councilmember Forrest White, approved the CVB contract on a 4-1 vote on Nov. 18. The adoption of the budget devoted Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) dollars, the additional tax on hotel and lodging services, to CVB services and activities.

Some councilmembers had concerns over lack of statistics presented at the Nov. 18, 2014 meeting, when the contract was initially approved. Councilmember Amy Bublak, who casted the lone dissenting vote on Nov. 18, asked for statistics before she approved the nearly $250,000 contract.

“If I’m supposed to represent the public at large, I need to let them know that I wouldn’t spend $250,000 of my own personal money, or theirs, without knowing what I’m getting for it,” said Bublak in November. “I’m sure that they can give us that information...but it’s not here...that’s my only concern.”

Councilmember Bill DeHart also had concerns over the lack of statistics, however he ultimately approved the contract. Council approved the contract on a 4-1 vote, with the stipulation, as moved by Councilmember Steven Nascimento, that the Chamber would need to provide requested statistics within six months of the approved contract.

Soiseth then directed Council to revisit the contract at the Feb. 10 meeting, with the hopes of allowing the Chamber to show requested statistics in a possible bid.

Despite terminating the contract following Tuesday’s meeting, Silva was grateful for all of the time she has spent working with the City of Turlock over the past two decades of managing the CVB.

“I want you to know what a privilege it has been over the last 20-plus years, since 1991, that the Turlock Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with the City of Turlock to administrate the Convention and Visitors Bureau,” said Silva at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

Although the Chamber terminated the contract, City Council still voted to unanimously approve a motion to direct staff to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to manage the CVB. However, at this time it is unknown what direction staff will be taking.

Nascimento asked Tuesday that there be a clear direction with the CVB going forward and staff clearly define duties before the RFP is issued.

“I think sometimes in the past the CVB has been criticized for doing certain things they were never directed to do,” said Nascimento. “They’re focused on conventions and bringing people into our hotels — that’s what we told them to do — but they were being criticized for not, you know, being more cheerleaders for the community."

Wasden said staff would take approximately 30 days to create RFP, followed by 30 days to accept competitive bids and the final 30 days to choose who will be the next to manage the CVB. The RFP could ultimately split up services, such as social media and events, to different companies.

Whatever direction staff and City Council decide to take, the Chamber has said it will do its best to make the transition as seamless as possible and the City and Chamber released the following joint statement on Tuesday.

“Based upon our meeting with the Chamber CEO and members of the Executive Board, the Chamber of Commerce and the City share these common objectives and both agencies are committed to continuing our collective and individual goals of showcasing our community and making Turlock the best city to live, work, and play in.”

“The most important thing to the Chamber of Commerce and to myself is that we continue this partnership and this relationship,” Silva added as she spoke at the Council meeting. “... We look forward to continue building the community together."

Council was united in being very grateful for all that the Chamber has done over the years for the City of Turlock.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t say, for a host of people — previous mayors, previous councilmembers — my most heartfelt gratitude and thanks for the many, many efforts over the course of time,” said Councilmember Bill DeHart.

Councilmember Amy Bublak added that she was disappointed to see the Chamber not compete in the RFP process.

“I’m saddened to hear that the Chamber doesn’t want to participate completely,” said Bublak, adding that she wished the Chamber could have brought some “longevity and experience” to the competitive bid process.

Moving forward, Soiseth believes the City is being more transparent and taking accountability, which has been echoed during his short time as Mayor of Turlock.

"I firmly believe Turlock will benefit from this Council's choice to move away from any perception of protectionist practices,” said Soiseth in a statement on Tuesday. “We have an obligation to scrutinize City expenses, big and small, and this scrutiny builds trust between the Council and our citizens." 

Comments (21)

Next on the Mayor's agenda: Terminate the City Manager and City Attorney thus ending the era of "obscene" wages. Turlock can no longer afford to pay outrageous wages for top management and their generous compensation packages while producing very...

Next on the Mayor's agenda: Terminate the City Manager and City Attorney thus ending the era of "obscene" wages. Turlock can no longer afford to pay outrageous wages for top management and their generous compensation packages while producing very little in return.

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  1. What's next?

First this toxic blog website fought to make sure the road tax failed so now none of the roads are being fixed.

Next the bloggers made sure to be bias in support of Gary Soiseth and republicans on the election and fought to oppose Mike Brem by...

First this toxic blog website fought to make sure the road tax failed so now none of the roads are being fixed.

Next the bloggers made sure to be bias in support of Gary Soiseth and republicans on the election and fought to oppose Mike Brem by making him look bad for filing papers late.

Then they attacked the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and tried to make John Lazar look bad for voting to approve the $250,000 contract only because he became a board member after the decision.

All of these topics were advertised and promoted on Facebook so much we all we're sick of seeing it.

The only two things this blog has pushed on Facebook that hasn't been addressed yet is firing the city manager Roy Wasden and city attorney Phaedra Norton who Councilwoman Bublak requested to be investigated and settling the Turlock police union lawsuit and contract that city manager Roy Wasden has illegal hurt the officers in negotiations.

We see your promoted posts and know what you are doing. His is a faux news site and just another political tool controlled Matt Swanson and Jeff Denham.

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  1. bye

Good riddance money sucking John Lazar leeches

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  1. No accountability

There is still no accountability if the chamber and Sharon Silva are allowed to walk away with half of the contract at $125,000 without giving the report showing all the work they did in 2014. Do they have any proof they fulfilled their contract...

There is still no accountability if the chamber and Sharon Silva are allowed to walk away with half of the contract at $125,000 without giving the report showing all the work they did in 2014. Do they have any proof they fulfilled their contract or did they get the money for nothing. Are they still upholding the contract for 2015?

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  1. Sharon Takes Credit!!!

Sharon, you mentioned that you started the Christmas parade and didn't mention it was really Abe Rojas!!! How disrespectful and self serving!!!

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  1. Good Gary

The kid mayor just ruined a 25 year long relationship with the business community. Good one Gary. Gary is attacking everyone who sided with Mike Brem and John Lazar. It is plain to see.

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  1. Sad but true

Soseith is going to be remembered and despised by this community sooner than Ted Howze was. Isn't there a saying about how quickly power can ruin one's political career. Hey Gary, listen up. We are trying to like your policies. First you screw up...

Soseith is going to be remembered and despised by this community sooner than Ted Howze was. Isn't there a saying about how quickly power can ruin one's political career. Hey Gary, listen up. We are trying to like your policies. First you screw up the Planning Commissing with your "diverse" choices and kick Elvis Dias off, next you foul up the CVB, if you believe Fransen's whack job rants, you need a new job.

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DJ, quit posting comments against Lazar, Democrats, and anyone who supported Mike Brem. Enough already, enough. Most people compare you to a mosquito, you are an uneducated Fox news crazy minion. If you know what I mean.

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  1. Turlovker

Again what is in Turlock for tourist just a bunch of bars and potholes to get lost in or you can stop by look at the homeless and see what the future of this country will look like if things don't change. I guess in a way we can say Turlock is...

Again what is in Turlock for tourist just a bunch of bars and potholes to get lost in or you can stop by look at the homeless and see what the future of this country will look like if things don't change. I guess in a way we can say Turlock is the city of the future.

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  1. Janice

DJ doesn't comment without signing his name to it. What's wrong with him posting and promoting news articles on Facebook. Fox news does it as well as CNN.

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0 #21 Show the receipts 2015-03-03 12:59
The Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO needs to go already.

Sharon Silva is still not showing how her and the chamber board took the city's money for promotion but used it for only the chamber members and the board members especially.

If they are still under contact with the city them the city council should still be able to require a report showing how they've spent the money for over 20 years.
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0 #20 Guest 2015-02-24 12:00
To the poster of Sharon Takes Credit: thank you for recognizing Abe Rojas' contribution to the Christmas parade. Silva wouldn't give credit to her mother for giving birth. She'd tell everyone she conceived herself and actually gave birth to herself as well.
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0 #19 Job Listing 2015-02-19 11:29
Wanted: A high school dropout, former drug dealer who runs a crappy website that is financed by a local vet. Must have been fired from working for the city of Turlock and tried to run a skake shop business (where he also sold drugs), all important assets to run a visitor's bureau.
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0 #18 Political Patronage 2015-02-19 11:27
The Chamber didn't support Bublak, and Sosieth and supported Measure B. Isn't it obvious why Soseith is attacking everyone who supported Brem. Soseith wants to "look" good but has nothing to back him up. This is going to get ugly, once the truth comes out!
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0 #17 Guest 2015-02-19 10:00
Sharon Silva is firing longtime employees and threatening them so they tell people it's "retirement". She's also running directors off the chamber board, even threatening to sue them. She hires relatives, and has created a highly toxic environment downtown. It's about time the CVB was moved out from under her thumb. She's used the CVB money as her own personal slush fund, claiming credit for "raising the funds herself" for pet projects like the 4th of July parade, which attracts literally dozens of people downtown. There should be an financial audit done to provide accountability and transparency, but as long as Silva is there, it will never happen. She needs to go, now.
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0 #16 Guest 2015-02-12 10:49
Sharon has been a ******** since she was a waitress at Divine Gardens.
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0 #15 Guest 2015-02-12 07:37
I also would like to know where all that money went. Is it true that Sharon Silva hired her granddaughter at $80,000/year. If she did, then that is totally wrong and corrupt. John Lazar and Sharon need to go.
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0 #14 Harold T 2015-02-12 07:35
@ Janice
Its people like Mary Jackson who are jealous of DJ's success. She writes most of the gossip and lies about DJ and people not reading his news site and how he attacks democrats. She is a real hater and got booted out of poilitics because of her stupidity and lies, lies lies.
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0 #13 truth 2015-02-12 05:19
Yeah never known ole turdlock for being a tourist attraction it's like once lyed here a druggie in the park Turlock has changed and hasn't been for the better people are blind you cant even ride a bike wearing normal clothes or yet people might think your homeless or on drugs not that your just out riding a bike for the fun of it. Theres way too many crimes going on all over Turlock from woman getting raped to druggies stealing cars and people burning houses down too young mothers making terrible decisions wake up people!
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0 #12 Hmm that's odd.... 2015-02-11 21:28
So let me get this straight, the council asks the chamber for some details, data, metrics ANYTHING to show exactly what they have done / will do with the funding.

Instead of doing what is asked, the chamber terminates the contract.

Unbelievable.
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