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VISITORS BUREAU WON’T BID ON SALT PALACE CONTRACT

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Five weeks as manager of the Salt Palace has been long enough for the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"I've spent 80 to 90 percent of my time with users who really are not associated with conventions," said bureau President Richard E. Davis, who has been the Salt Palace manager since March 6 when county officials announced they were laying off then-manager Sam Driggs and seven others in the management office.Davis' organization, which has an objective of filling Salt Lake-area hotel rooms by acting as the palace's long-term booking agent, agreed in a memorandum of understanding to manage the facility for six months while the county sought a private management contractor.

Even though the memorandum precluded the bureau from bidding on the long-term contract, bureau officials have maintained they still had that option. But the bureau's executive committee voted unanimously Thursday to inform the County Commission it would not bid on a long-term management contract.

"This decision was based on a recommendation from our president, Richard E. Davis, after his first five weeks of management at the Salt Palace," the executive committee reported to its board of trustees and the County Commission.

"Increasing and enhancing convention business in Salt Lake is our first priority," the letter continues. "We determined that it is not in the long-term interests of the Convention & Visitors Bureau to also try to manage the Salt Palace."

Not only that, but the bureau definitely wants to be out of the management office by the end of the six-month period, which ends Sept. 6.

County officials have said the six-month term could have some give and take, depending on how long the management selection process takes. But Davis said Friday he definitely wants to be out by Sept. 6. "We cannot manage it after that."