Okaloosa denies TDC request for Houchins third term

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FILE PHOTO | Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 11:07 AM.

FORT WALTON BEACH — Okaloosa County Commissioners on Tuesday denied the Tourist Development Council’s request to allow Kathy Houchins to serve as chairwoman for a third year.

Commissioners would have had to waive existing TDC rules because the current policy prohibits a chairman from serving more than two one-year terms. The TDC requested the waiver because it said Houchins’ experience would be helpful to Dan O’Byrne, the county’s new tourism development director.

Commissioners praised Houchins’ service but voted unanimously not to grant the TDC’s request.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to do this,” said Commissioner Dave Parisot, who also serves as a TDC member. “The TDC is an advisory committee. I don’t think retaining long-term membership … would be necessary for Mr. O’Byrne to do his job.”

Parisot said many TDC members even have supported the idea of having shorter terms and more turnover on the council.

Commissioner Kelly Windes, who was sworn into office at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, agreed.

“There’s times when you need to make waivers on policy,” he said. “I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the people of Okaloosa County for this to be one of those times.”



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