By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Votes taken Friday by the advisory board of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau regarding grant reallocations for events will be voided because they took place at a meeting that violated the Missouri open-meetings law.
City Clerk Barbara Hogelin acknowledged on Monday that she did not post a public agenda for the meeting.
She and CVB Director Patrick Tuttle both said they miscommunicated on the purpose of the discussions and whether a quorum of the board would be present. Hogelin said she thought there were to be no formal discussions or any votes, and she had told Tuttle that if it was a work session, the meeting did not need to be posted.
The meeting was held to discuss reallocation of grant money that will not be used for two events that received earlier allocations, Boomtown Days and Dogs in Downtown.
City Attorney Brian Head, contacted by the Globe about the lack of public notice of the meeting, said, “Those votes are void, in my opinion, and they will need to meet again.”
Tuttle said he received an instruction from Head to that effect and has responded that he will ensure that future meeting agendas are posted.
The CVB had been notified earlier that the Dogs in Downtown event that had been planned for May and the Boomtown Days festival in June had both been canceled. Those two events had been allocated a total of $24,500.
New grant applications were solicited, and several had been submitted by the CVB’s deadline on June 5. Tuttle said the meeting Friday was called because quick action was needed to hear the new applications, decide on funding and send those recommendations to the City Council for final action.
Tuttle said the board agreed on Friday to recommend that the council allow about $14,000 to go to five events: the Emancipation Park Day Celebration, the Tools in Motion Exhibition at Spiva Center for the Arts, a Bright Futures Community Engagement Conference, Joplin Disc Golf tournaments, and the Joplin Triathlon Weekend.
The board recommends that the remaining $10,000 be made available to the Mother Road Marathon and the Route 66 International Festival if funds are needed for those events.
The purpose of the grants is to help advertise or provide entertainment for events that could bring visitors to Joplin and provide hotel stays.
CVB DIRECTOR PATRICK TUTTLE said he would try to reschedule the meeting for this week.