Don’t Rule County Commissioner Stacy Ritter Out for Tourism Job






When Nicki Grossman was appointed Broward County’s tourism director in 1995, her primary experience was that she had been a county commissioner.

So it is hypocritical to hear today that County Commissioner Stacy Ritter is not suitable to be Grossman’s replacement because she is not a tourism professional.



stacy ritterStacy Ritter


By every account, Grossman has done a wonderful job as tourism chief of Broward. I believe one of the reasons is what I’ve argued in print and on television —  the tourism director is a job that demands a significant amount of political skills. That is something that Grossman brought to the job and Ritter will, too.

You can buy professional experience, maybe as a second-in-command. You can’t buy political experience and knowledge of the community.

The tourism director has to balance the competing interests of the hotels in West Broward, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and other cities. The director has to be able to coax support from an often-divided County Commission.

The tourism director must lobby Tallahassee and Washington for attention to problems like beach nourishment. The director must juggle the business interests of Broward’s 30 cities arguing for attention.

Plus, the new director must be a colorful, attractive and compelling spokesperson for Broward around the world and in the media. Colorless tourism technocrats just don’t have those abilities.

Even a highly critical editorial in the Sun-Sentinel noted Ritter’s “would bring passion and enthusiasm to the job.”

Ritter’s gusto and political abilities are a definite plus.

The choice will be made by County Manager Bertha Henry. I don’t envy her.

The argument that Ritter, one of Henry’s bosses, applied pressure to get considered for the job.  That is ridiculous. There are nine strong-minded County Commissioners in charge of Henry.

The question, of course, is whether Henry can stand the heat from the Sun-Sentinel, which is hostile to Ritter, and County Commissioner Lois Wexler.

Wexler has launched a crusade in her waning days on the County Commission – she is term limited out later this year – to block Ritter. Animosity between the two goes back years and includes such silliness as a very visible verbal brawl over who should sit where on the County Commission dais.

In my opinion the criticism from Wexler is personal and has little to do with tourism.

I know that my comments about Ritter will be controversial.  Websites like are expected to attack, attack and attack and never admit that office holders have any positive attributes. I have to call them like I see them.

Should Ritter get the job? Luckily, I don’t have to do the hiring.

My take:

Ritter shouldn’t be ruled out just because she is a county commissioner. Such experience would be invaluable in promoting the tourism industry.


26 Responses to “Don’t Rule County Commissioner Stacy Ritter Out for Tourism Job”

  1. Ritter the sales tax killer says:

    I have heard that if Bertha picks Ritter, it will prompt organized opposition to the transit tax as it will prove that the county is unfit to handle that much new money without it going for political paybacks. The tax will not pass if it has organized and funded opposition.

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Respectfully Mr Nevins you are looking at a BUSINESS ISSUE with POLITICAL eyesight. I got attacked for opposing County Commissioner Wexler interjecting herself on a FORT LAUDERDALE NEIGHBORHOOD ISSUE so I am not carrying her political water.
    RITTER IS UNQUALIFIED TO DEVELOPE TOURISM. You are WRONG to think the post should get into a POLITICAL issue of west vs east vs north vs south Broward Tourism. THAT’s been the bane of Broward County will Miami-Dade Monroe Palm Beach Hillsborough Pinellis Indian River Manatee and Sarasota Counties all focus their various public tourist funding ON WHAT WORKS not some PURELY POLITICAL issue you have raised.
    And yes, as someone involved in historic preservation with its tourist element since 1957 and traveling in North America Europe Asia Australia n New Zealand since 1980 I have dealt with tourist ooerations worldwide. If anyone thinks Broward’s operation compares well to others in Florida yet alone other seafront cities worldwide you delusional.
    I have an investment in two retail operations n the fields I invested in here are DECLING while tourist powered sales in other seafront cities are RISING. I can read business ledgers.

  3. heckler says:

    Ha Ha
    What a joke
    Ask Jack Seiler what he thinks of your column!
    He is the big stakeholder in that the only city in this county that has world wide name recognition is FORT LAUDERDALE

    You must be joking buddy!!

  4. Thomas Easyway says:

    The transit tax is dead in the water. It’s opposed by the MPO (transit planners) and a majority of Broward Cities have voted for an infrastructure tax (opposed transit) to defy the county. It has nothing to do with Ritter. I suspect the cronyism that has always existed in Broward County will prevail. Bertha is the most powerful person in Broward politics with no one to keep her in check–except Nicki Grossman. My guess–look for Nicki’s top choice–Carlos Molinet to be squeak into the coveted position.

  5. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    The Sun-Sentinel doesn’t like Ritter — is that the team of Brittany Wallman and her husband, LikesDonutsBob?

    Maybe Ritter can start wearing colorful socks … that will make one Wallman happy. And maybe plant some bushes around her home, so Donuts can ambush her from the … er, bush.

    Hopefully, with the new owners of the S-S, the Wallmans can start enjoying working for a new employer – Perez Hilton.

  6. Handyssc says:

    You’ve always had eyes for the pretty ladies… but enough with recycling these career politicians who feed endlessly from the public trough… recruit a tourism professional from outside the County, if not the state. And as far as justifying Ritter’s appt on the grounds that Nikki had no experience… that was 100 years ago.

  7. Seriously? says:

    Ritter has done a poor job as County Commissioner, barely showing up for the last 4 years. She hasn’t represented those who elected her or the Cities they live in. It’s great that she has a presence on the dais at the Government Center, but beyond sniping at others and playing the Big, she hasn’t done or accomplished anything for those she represents or the County as a whole. Now she’s full of passion and spirit? Her considerable political skills will help her make Broward great? Where’s she been and what has she really accomplished for the time she’s spent on the County Commission? Nobody talks about what she’s accomplished, just that she has great passion for the County and that she’s cute. Just like when she roller skated around King’s Point charming seniors to send her to Tallahassee. Putting our tourism future in her hands now? NO THANKS!!!!!!

  8. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Let’s think about the consequences…

    1) Ritter gets out of politics

    Um, no need to consider 2..N

    Good idea, Buddy!!!

  9. Billy says:

    You are endorsing a woman that milked her campaign account liked she would milk Betsy the cow. Can’t wait to see what she does with a county issued credit card if she gets the gig.

  10. Zowie says:

    I’m still curious about what led the Obama White House to nix a Washington job for Ritter.

  11. David Mann says:

    I DO NOT care if Stacy Ritter is the
    next tourism director or not but I
    DO care about a proper characterization of Nicki Grossman’s
    ascendancy to the job. As you pointed out Grossman left the Commission in 1992 and did NOT become tourism director until 1995. During that 2 1/2 years she was doing publicity for Gulfstream Racetrack and also spent two years as the Executive Director of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. She
    DID NOT move from the Commission dais one day to the Tourism Czar the next

  12. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    @11 Mr Mann gave me information I n others were not aware of And I think this just makes Ritter’s attempts to be head of the Tourist Bureau EVEN LESS CREDIBLE.

  13. leave bc 4 ever says:

    How can we even think of having Ritter as our tourism czar when she can’t even read her immediate community

    She was willing to sell off Camp Telogia against her communities best interest

    Hopefully a person with the correct credentials will be selected

    Let’s hope politics does not control this decision

  14. Real Deal says:

    This is the latest example of why Broward needs strong mayor accountable only to the people. County Manager Bertha Henry faces two choices.

    One has Ritter working for her as tourism director, which means Henry gets a new county commissioner. That scenario offers Henry some chance at a decent future.

    Or she can chose someone other than Ritter and end up with a bitter and horrible enemy as a boss.

    That is the position an appointed rather than elected chief of government faces, and that is why Ritter will be appointed. It will have nothing to do with Ritter being the best person for the job or what’s best for tourism.

    It will have everything to do with the county manager preserving her own job security. That is no way to run a railroad.

  15. HillaryIn2016And2020 says:

    #11 David Mann. Try not using FACTS with these GOP losers. You are just wasting your time! And they just fall asleep!

  16. just saying says:

    the photo of her is at least 10 years old.
    she has had the cushy BCC gig for how long? at least 8 years (2 terms) maybe longer.
    its a part time gig, just like her Tally gig.
    she is now a slacker. Can she hustle? Put in long days traveling thru airports, on her feet, etc., etc.? let henry give her the job. henry doesn’t care. she is probably planning her retirement from the county with the full pension any day now.
    But I’ll bet ritter will never last as long in the job as Nikki Grossman.

  17. Pension Pump says:

    @16 You are so right. By getting the CVB job and holding it a few years, she can pump up and double her pension payout. Could gain her millions depending how long she lives. And as far as her aging body being able to through the airports, she can always use a golf cart!

  18. Old Timer says:

    The position needs a professional … if Ritter doesn’t have tourism experience (which means more than taking a cruise once in a while) or administrative experience in managing people, budgets, and executing strategic plans … then she should be out of consideration.

  19. Talks like a politician says:

    Only Broward County would think of putting a retread politician into a another job where she can once again feed at the public trough.

    Where is the job description for being a tourism director in Broward? What are the requirements to be considered for the position? Many colleges and universities in Florida, not to mention the world, offer degrees in Hospitality Management and Tourism. It is impossible to believe that most of the graduates of those programs would not do a better job as tourism director than a former lawyer married to a lobbyist…
    It is time for professionalism in Broward, not cronyism.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Professional? Who helped get the County a new runway at FLL? Who started the process for a new courthouse when the other one was so gross that pipes were bursting weekly? You people are so bitter that Ritter is smart, motivated, able to lead and pretty!

  21. Who Got the $$$$$$$ says:

    Word is that the Mango Queen will get it.

  22. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    In any other venue, what Ritter and her husband did would have landed them in prison. But in Broweird, it’s the usual M.O.


  23. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewiczc says:

    As an investor in 2 different businesses that require tourist customers Commissioner Ritter as head of tourist development would influence me to move my investments elsewhere. No venue I have invested in in either the US or abroad has ex public officials as tourist czars.

  24. Sue O'Hara says:

    There’s no question that Ritter has the job. The word on the street is that Ritter was told by Bertha Henry months ago that she had the job. That’s why Marty Kiar publicly congratulated her when he was chosen as Mayor. Look at the record. If you’re a betting person, put your cash on Ritter. Henry doesn’t have the cajones not to hire her. The search for a replacement was a sham. It all a show folks. And it’s a shame.

  25. tell the truth says:

    @20 Anonymous-
    she carried water for the AGC contractors that bid and got the work again and again. Actually her, Lori Parrish and Lieberman all did for the airport, and her and Lieberman for the courthouse.


    Lieberman couldn’t get a consensus on the commission. It took Ritter to put the deal together. Parrish had already moved to the Property Appraiser’s Office, where as far as I’m concerned she has done a great job.

  26. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Yes Lori Parrish has done a good job as Property Appraiser. Marty Kiar on the other hand has disgraced himself like Tim Ryan n others with claims to ethics by signaling to Bertha Henry she could put objective criteria aside n hire a Sitting Commissioner for a County job.