Blue World organizer, Chernock, calls it quits
Capping big changes to come that involve an anticipated $1.5 million shortfall, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Executive Director Bill Chernock announced his resignation Thursday to the board of the lake’s largest tourism agency. He left for personal reasons.
He’ll stay on board until Aug. 31 and receive four months of severance pay on the $77,000-a-year job. And the next director could be running the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority, the LTVA’s counterpart over the casino corridor.
“More than anything else it’s a life kind of decision instead of banging away at what I’m doing,” Chernock said after the meeting. He’s selling his house and buying in Las Vegas, where he plans to play a lot of golf.
About two years on the job, the marketing executive took the high-profile post at a turbulent time for an organization of which he served on the board. At the time, he worked as the marketing director for Aramark Corporation in Zephyr Cove. Terry LeBan was the LTVA executive director. She was convicted for embezzling funds from the agency.
But the 21-year Tahoe resident took the helm, planning the strategy behind an image-building campaign called the Blue World.
“I was getting to a time of transition,” he said.
Chernock said he questioned his decision to leave because he feared it may upset the stability of the organization staffed by five people and facing major cuts for the 2004-05 budget. It starts Oct. 1.
According to the staff report, funding from South Lake Tahoe was cut by $485,220 for the coming year and by almost $1 million from the TDVA.
The two tourism organizations will meet in the next few weeks to review a possible consolidation – including changes within their home bases. The LTVA may move out of its building.
Cuts are also in store for LTVA’s agency, Weidinger Public Relations, along with the Lake Tahoe Marathon and the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.
“I think it will be an excellent thing if done correctly,” said TDVA Executive Director Sharon Kelly, who commended Chernock for his knowledge of the job and area.
The change is bittersweet for LTVA sales director Sue Barton, who’s worked with Chernock at Zephyr Cove.
“I’ll miss him terribly,” said Barton, who will take over as acting director.
LTVA board Chairman Tom Davis echoed the sentiment but looked ahead.
“We live in Tahoe. We’re used to change,” he said.
Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org