MONROE COUNTY, FL – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners made several recommendations at their Wednesday meeting to be delivered to the Tourist Development Council (TDC) board of directors after a Clerk of Court audit brought numerous discrepancies that need further clarification and investigation. The TDC is a 9-member advisory board of the County.
TDC Board Chairwoman Rita Irwin attended the meeting. “We want to cooperate, we want to be better, and we want to look at this as an opportunity,” she said. “We have grown so quickly that we recognize that we need to make changes, be fluid, and be transparent with taxpayer dollars.”
The commissioners voted to exercise its statutory authority to hire an outside firm, Cherry Bekaert, to audit the books and accounts of the TDC. The commission also voted to recommend that the TDC hire the same firm to provide temporary financial and management assistance to the TDC and Visit Florida Keys, the nonprofit that employs TDC staff. Finally, the commissioners voted to recommend that the TDC place the marketing director, Stacey Mitchell, on administrative leave with pay pending the completion of the audit and future recommendations of the board.
Cherry Bekaert representatives at the meeting said they would lay out a plan to understand the organization and work to keep the day-to-day operations intact for the upcoming season while prioritizing identifying and closing gaps.
The TDC board will meet on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. at Double Tree Resort in Key West to discuss the audit and the BOCC’s recommendations. The meeting is open to the public and will be in person only.
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