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County, chamber 'table' each other

Chamber withdraws request to partner with county on Music Festival.

First, Curry County commissioners on Tuesday tabled a request from the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce to invest $50,000 in the annual Clovis Music Festival.

Now, the chamber says it has tabled its interest in partnering with the county, citing “flippant comments” made by Commission Chair Chet Spear.

Robyn Snowberger, president of the chamber and chair of the Clovis Music Festival committee, wrote a letter to commissioners Wednesday expressing her “extreme displeasure” with Spear’s “unprofessional” conduct at the meeting.

During the meeting, Spear took issue with Chamber Executive Director Ernie Kos not being physically present, though she had phoned into the meeting.

“If she’s (Kos) going to ask for $50,000 she should be here,” Spear said. “I have questions.”

Kos said she was on the phone and could answer questions.

“Be here for the next meeting,” Spear said. “I think it would be proper and considerate if you were here in person.”

Then Spear announced, “I’ll let Robyn do her dog and pony show.”

Snowberger gave a short presentation before commissioners voted unanimously to table the request until the December meeting.

“Nothing personal about you,” Spear said to Snowberger.

After the meeting, Spear said he had questions about previous music festivals and whether the chamber had made money.

“It’s nothing personal, I have questions and Ernie is the one who can provide them,” Spear said. “Yes, Robyn Snowberger is the president, but chamber presidents are only there for a year. Ernie has been there for years and she knows what I want to know.

“They came to us for $50,000 of tax money. We commissioners and the county manager are sworn to be good stewards of tax dollars. We must be accountable, responsible, transparent.”

In Snowberger’s letter, obtained by The News via public records request, she wrote that “$50 thousand is a significant ask. If we had known that you (Spear) or the Commission felt strongly that Ernie needed to attend to answer questions directly, we would have made that happen. Moving forward I ask that you show us the courtesy to try and resolve any outstanding issues or concerns in a professional manner or more appropriate setting.”

She also wrote that she was “more than prepared to present and answer questions on behalf of the Chamber” and that chamber officials had “decided to table our request and will not be attending the December County Commission meeting to pursue this partnership.”

The Music Festival is scheduled April 13-15. Kos on Thursday said officials have contracted with the Curry County Events Center to host the shows, which have not been finalized.

One performer has tentatively agreed to appear on April 15, Kos said, and Events Center Manager K.C. Messick has been authorized to contract with a performer for April 14.

The April 13 date is in question, Kos said, depending on costs for securing the other nights’ entertainment. Kos said the festival committee has raised about $125,000 for the shows. The $50,000 request from the county would have increased the chances of securing a “bigger name,” Kos said.

David Stevens of The News contributed to this report.