The Schenectady County Legislature on Wednesday appointed the inaugural board of directors for its tourism and visitors bureau.
The board is made up of stakeholders and leaders in the local business, entertainment and tourism communities. It consists of 17 members, two of whom are county legislators. The bureau, which hasn’t formally begun operating, will be a non-profit corporation that exists separately from the legislature, though the county will maintain oversight, and the board’s first president is part of the legislature.
County leaders expressed support for the bureau when the idea was first pitched in early October, saying they believe the timing is right to capitalize on the area’s new hotels and entertainment options. Legislators voted during an Oct. 11 meeting 13-0 in favor of creating the entity.
The appointed board members are:
Jeffrey McDonald, of the Stockade Inn.
Brooke Spraragen, of the Galesi Group.
Kate Kosineski, of Proctors.
Mona Golub, representing Music Haven.
Ray Legere, of Legere Properties/Schenectady Armory.
Joseph Popolizio, of Waters Edge Lighthouse.
Joseph Jones, of DoubleTree by Hilton.
Jeff Michaelson, of Courtyard by Marriott.
Carney McGuire, of Rivers Casino and Resort.
David Brough, of Schenectady County Community College.
Matthew Mazzone, of Mazzone Hospitality.
John Mallozzi, of Johnny’s Restaurant.
Mary Zawacki, of the Schenectady County Historical Society.
Peter Bednarek, of Wolf Hollow Brewery.
Tara Burnham, of miSci.
Richard Ruzzo, member of the legislature.
Cathy Gatta, member of the legislature.
McDonald, who also serves as a county legislator, has been named the board president. His capacity on the board will pertain to his role as owner of the Stockade Inn, which fills a position designated for a representative from a hotel with a capacity of less than 50 rooms.
Spraragen will serve as vice president, according to a prepared statement.
The board will meet before the end of the calendar year, McDonald said in an interview on Thursday.
“The direction of the tourism program in the county will be driven by the players involved in it,” he said. “It should help create a successful end result.”
The Schenectady County Tourism and Visitors Bureau will be funded by the county’s hotel/motel bed tax. With several new hotels opening in the county over the next year, that revenue is expected to increase.
In the meantime, the 2017 county budget, which was approved in October, allocated nearly $392,000 for anticipated startup costs of the organization. McDonald said the board will ultimately decide how to allocate those funds.
Ten of the board’s members were chosen by the full county Legislature, while five others were appointed by five individual legislators. Kosineski was chosen by Chairman Anthony Jasenski, Golub was chosen by Vice Chair Karen Johnson, Legere was chosen by Deputy Chair Philip Fields, McDonald was chosen by Majority Leader Gary Hughes and Popolizio was chosen by Minority Leader Jim Buhrmaster.
Positions on the board are for four-year terms and are unpaid. There are no limits on how many terms a board member can serve, according to the bureau’s bylaws.
In addition to the board, the bureau is expected to employ three full-time workers to start. Two would be focused on marketing and outreach, while one would be an office manager who would handle day-to-day responsibilities.
Reach Gazette reporter Brett Samuels at 395-3113, [email protected] or @Brett_Samuels27 on Twitter.