The Jan. 6 editorial, "Boardwalk Hall labor costs/Holding back Atlantic City," incorrectly suggests that the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority controls the operation of Boardwalk Hall and manages the collective-bargaining process for the labor unions that provide services for the shows and events there.
For the record, the CRDA exercises no authority over the operation of Boardwalk Hall and the Convention Center. The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority and SMG, the ACCVA's facilities manager for the past 17 years, control these facilities and have been responsible for negotiating labor contracts.
The Tourism District legislation calls for the "transfer" of the ACCVA into the CRDA by February 2014. In preparation for the merger, the CRDA and ACCVA have been meeting to review sales, marketing and operational issues to make the transition as seamless as possible and to identify opportunities to create a more aggressive strategy for new events, trade shows and convention business.
An important first step was the ACCVA's selection of Global Spectrum to serve as the new operator of both Boardwalk Hall and the Convention Center.
Making these facilities more competitive is in everyone's interest. And, yes, as your editorial states, labor costs are part of the equation. But then it goes out of bounds in suggesting that the CRDA is in charge of the collective bargaining process. The CRDA does not control Boardwalk Hall or its operations and will not until such time as the transfer of ACCVA is complete.
The editorial goes on to say that our board is controlled by organized labor. This simply isn't the case. Five of the CRDA's 17 board members represent labor; the board is a diverse group, representing the casino industry, government and civic and business communities. When the merger occurs, I have no doubt our members will continue to place the growth and success of the Tourism District above personal interest. The state's conflict-of-interest law demands no less.
I am confident that when the time comes the CRDA will be positioned to effectively manage convention and visitor responsibilities. Labor relations, a recalibrated sales and marketing strategy, an improving economy and the governor's leadership will position us to succeed.