Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday June 19th 2018


Into the Light, Johnson Lets the Sunshine In

Pensacola City Councilman Larry Johnson called for today’s Tourist Development Council meeting. He was curious about a few things.

“I’m just interested in finding out what’s going on,” said Johnson, who sits on both the TDC and the Pensacola City Council.

The tourism council is in a state of flux. It’s chairman has been in unofficial talks about moving tourism marketing duties away from the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s vice president of tourism, Ed Schroeder, was also involved in the discussions. He just stepped down. It’s all in the emails.

“We were suppose to have a meeting in October,” Johnson said today, “but when this all broke I thought we should move the meeting up.”

Johnson would not discuss accusations that those involved in the out-of-the-public-eye talks treaded beyond legal boundaries.

“I’m not gonna interpret the Sunshine Law,” the Council member said. “I know that I would not meet with a TDC board member outside of a meeting to discuss TDC business.”

While he said he was waiting to get the full story at today’s meeting, Johnson said that if the basic story that appeared to be unfolding were true then Schroeder did the right thing in stepping down. He feels McKinnon should probably do the same.

“Yeah, I think Denis should step down, personally,” he said. “From what I’m hearing in the community, Denis is having some trust issues out there.”

The TDC board member said he was open to discussing a possible overhaul in the way tourism marketing is handled. He just prefers to put the item on an official agenda first.

“I’m open minded,” Johnson said. “But I do think to have that discussion behind closed doors is inappropriate.”