Okaloosa TDC Holds First Meeting With New Council Members

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After three hours and several documents, the first official meeting of the new TDC council came to an end.

"I think it went really well. It was a really exciting starting point for a brand new TDC on a brand new mission for a great place" said TDC Executive Director Dan O’Byrne.

County officials spent a lot of time briefing the new council members on Florida law, TDC rules and their role as council members. That's expected, since this group is taking office under a cloud. The county commission dismissed the old board, as part of the fall-out from former TDC Director Mark Bellinger embezzling millions from the organization.

"Definitely figured we'd be under quite a bit of scrutiny regarding rules and regulations and procedures. A lot of information to bring myself up to speed" said Council Member Thom Gossom Jr.

The TDC will not have the standing committees they've had in the past, but they will continue with a chairman and vice chairman.

"I accepted a responsibility when I said I’d do this and was appointed. If I can serve as vice chair and move meetings along and make sense and involve the public. That'll certainly be my job when i have the opportunity to chair a meeting" said TDC Vice Chair Tom Rice.

Council members say they are eager to move forward, rebuilding the public's confidence, handling the upcoming tourist season, and preparing for a healthy off season.

"As an individual I’m looking to be of service" said Gossom Jr.

"I think the public is very anxious for us as a tourism marketing company to get back to business and really invite our customers in and make sure we have a great season” said O’Byrne.

The TDC has also hired a new marketing firm, Peter Mayer, to help with future projects.