On January 22, 2018, the Village Board unanimously approved a two year contract with Real Racine. At the meeting, trustees praised Real Racine’s efforts and success. Dave DeGroot stressed the value of neighboring communities working together and “not against each other for the good purpose of enhancing our quality of living.” DeGroot said, “we are happy to have them and continue to work with them.”
In the FLL meeting on Tuesday, which voted to approve the new commission ordinance, DeGroot announced a sudden and rather harsh opinion of Real Racine by saying, “up until now, our relationship is basically, they’ve said you know, shut up a write us a check.”
That’s an exact quote.
Back in the January meeting, the Village Administrator admitted the village had not scheduled Real Racine for yearly reports before the board by saying, “we will begin the process of getting you on the agenda, unfortunately, we were remiss in the past in doing that, so we’ll make sure we get in touch with you.” Dave Blank replied, “anytime you want.”
But again, on Tuesday, the story changed. The Village Administrator accused Real Racine of failing to provide annual reports - which is not just false, but in the single year they didn’t speak to the board - the Village admitted it was their own fault.
It may not be a coincidence there was no one in the room from Real Racine on Tuesday to defend their organization.
The Village President has posted a series of disparaging comments on social media about Real Racine over the last few weeks in an obvious attempt to smear them and make the village’s unpopular decision look like it’s Real Racine’s fault.
It’s embarrassing and unprofessional.
Local control has its merits, but so does competent and reliable experience. Mt. Pleasant will launch a commission in 2019 with appointed members who have no experience and no knowledge of the tourism industry. While they try to figure out what they are doing, Real Racine will have to wait to find out if they even have a relationship with Mt. Pleasant.
Real Racine doesn’t just produce a magazine and advertise county businesses. They use the funds they are allocated to create and design events which bring tourism dollars to the area. With an uncertain and/or a diminished budget, those events are gone. That’s a huge loss for the entire county. Mt. Pleasant knows this, they just don’t care.
No one asked them to do this. The village did no research, collected no input from other communities or stakeholders. It is unacceptable that officials have stooped to trash talking a 35 year old organization because they didn’t bother to do their homework first.