From left: Lisa Riddle, Phil Cannon, Catherine Glover
ALBANY — An organizer of one the city’s largest events is calling for the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau to split from its parent organization, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, in the wake of the removal of the CVB’s director on Sept. 8.
Phil Cannon, one of the original organizers of Albany’s Mardis Gras weekend, released an email statement late Sunday that was critical of the firing of Lisa Riddle and pushed for independence for the CVB. Cannon is a member of the boards of the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority and the Downtown Merchants Association. Cannon also served previously as the chair of the CVB Advisory Council for the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.
Click here to read the e-mail.
No reason has been given for Riddle’s termination Sept. 8 by Chamber President Catherine Glover.
In his email, Cannon said that the official reason was because Riddle discussed Glover’s salary privately with a fellow employee. Cannon contends Riddle’s termination came because the heads
of the chamber don’t want the public knowing a portion of their salaries come from tax proceeds.
“The true motivation is: the Chamber does not want the public to know HOW the salary of Mrs. Glover is paid. The Chamber had to manipulate the rules to pay Catherine Glover the salary she demanded as a condition to have her move to Albany Ga.” Cannon said. “This excessive salary demand was not within the Chamber’s budget. The Chamber created a position to put Mrs. Glover in charge of the CVB and split her salary between the Chamber and CVB. The public needs to know the portion of Mrs. Glover’s salary that comes from the CVB is paid with public dollars. “
Cannon goes on to say that Riddle was vital to the success of the Mardis Gras weekend, which typically attracts roughly 25,000-50,000 people each year to downtown.
Glover, who as president of the chamber also assumes the role of president of the CVB, could not be reached for comment late Sunday evening when the e-mail was sent out. Cannon also couldn't be reached for additional comment.
Since Riddle's dismissal, Glover has stepped into Riddle's role and has said there are no immediate plans to fill the position.
In an e-mail to the Albany Herald following Riddle's dismissal, Glover says that her involvement with the CVB has been "substantial."
"Lisa's last day with the CVB was September 8. We have not decided whether or not we will replace the position as it is stands, but will take all the time necessary to revisit the duties associated with the position, and will work internally to realign and reassign as best fits the mission of the organization," Glover said. "It's important to note that my role with the Chamber/CVB has been and will continue to be as President/CEO of both organizations. When I was hired three years ago, I was hired due to my extensive Chamber, CVB and statewide tourism experience."
"My involvement with the CVB has been substantial, and will continue to be. We have a very strong team in place, and will continue to meet and exceed expectations as our visitors, trade organizations and business conferences continue to enjoy all that Albany has to offer," Glover said at the time.