“Richard, it’s Lioneld,” came the voice over the phone. He wanted to talk about my blog about the “Festival Czar.”
Wow, I thought, je’s gonna offer me the job!
But no, he just wanted to let me know that I was full of old shoes, as I frequently am, and that Don Marr had posted a response on my blog. So here, without further ado, is Comrade Marr’s posting.
I did get a big kick from the poster who compared me to Mike Masterson – a dream come true!
The Event Coordinator position that you have read about in the Newspapers, or heard in conversations, is not something the City is pursuing at this time. The City has a budget deficit and is not adding any new services or any new headcount…. What you might be referring to is that the Mayor appointed a group of citizens to study Festivals and large public events in Fayetteville. The groups goal’s are to address five areas of research and provide the mayor with a final report to address the following:
1) survey and compile a list of successful festivals and public events in other cities throughout the nation;
2) provide some analysis of the potential problems and benefits of such festivals for the communities where they occur;
3) recommend the types of festivals and public events that the city might encourage or recruit that would be beneficial for residents and help build both a spirit of community and our reputation as a vibrant venue for entertainment;
4) evaluate the costs and benefits to the city and its residents from various types of events; and
5) investigate and recommend the criteria that should guide incentives, from providing space on public property to promotional support from the Advertising & Promotions Commission.
And the Mayor also directed the task force to keep in mind four important purposes of Festivals and large public events to measure the information against. Those four important purposes are (1) Celebrate the diverse cultural resources of our community; (2) provide additional entertainment options for local residents; (3) provide economic opportunities for local artist, entrepreneurs, and businesses; and (4) increase tax revenues for City Government.
While the committee has talked about having dedicated paid staff to coordinate festivals and plan events, their report (should it include that recommendation) will be advisory in nature and will have to have City Council support and/or Advertising & Promotions Commission support. None of that will be even discussed until the final report has been submitted, and the Mayor determines what items he would like to discuss with the council and A&P which he is not even entertaining introducing a new position for Festival Coordination – remember no new services, no new positions.
We just don’t see such a position being added to the City Staff any time soon.