It had been called to address the resignation of chief executive James Mason and half of all board members. Yet the meeting lasted a perfunctory 15 minutes and overlooked all critical questions of governance.#
Instead it was agreed that Mr Box, the veteran former leader of Wakefield Council, would remain as chair, having previously signalled its intention to stand down in light of recent ructions, and the much-troubled tourism agency’s future put on indefinite hold. In short, the brief exchanges posed more questions than answers.
And while the suggestion, afterwards, is that this hiatus paves the way for the leaders of Yorkshire’s councils – the primary financial backers of Welcome to Yorkshire – to determine its future on November 18, including its probable return to the public sector, Mr Box’s lack of candour is risible.
Indeed, it is as contemptible as the reluctance of his senior staff to answer basic questions satisfactorily from The Yorkshire Post about the agency’s management, financial structure, repayment of a loan to North Yorkshire County Council and other matters in the public interest.
Taxpayers deserve respect that still hasn’t been forthcoming and it is fanciful to think that Welcome to Yorkshire, in its current state, can recruit a new chief executive who can spearhead this county’s £9bn a year tourism industry.
The best hope is that the Yorkshire Leaders Board, comprising town hall leaders, seizes the initiative – and begins consulting with industry experts – so it can reach a decision that is in the best interests of all those families whose livelihoods depend on a thriving visitor economy.
They remain the most important people of all.
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