Comm Stacy Ritter Gets Broward Tourism Job





County Commissioner Stacy Ritter is the new Broward tourism director.

stacy ritter

Stacy Ritter

Ritter was given the key position as director of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau because of her long knowledge of the community, her political skills and her vow to bring a fresh direction to the agency.

“I wanted someone who could be a strategic thinker, who’s a good communicator, who’s very passionate about our destination,” County Manager Bertha Henry told the Sun-Sentinel

Ritter will take over the agency which is responsible for promoting an industry, which welcomed 15.4 million visitors to Broward spending more than $14.2 billion last year.

“I’m very excited by this new job, ” Ritter said after the appointment was announced Friday. She vowed to bring “passion and hard work” to the position.

She also quipped, “I’m very excited to be out of politics.”

A lawyer with a degree from Nova Southeastern Law School, she was first elected to the Florida House in 1996 in a campaign where she roller-bladed door-to-door in shorts. She beat a heavily favored member of the School Board.

She went on to be an outspoken Democrat, serving with such local former House members as Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and County Commissioners Marty Kiar and Tim Ryan.

A Broward commissioner since 2006, her major achievements include getting a long-stalled runway built at the Fort Lauderdale-International Airport which could handle larger planes. She also marshaled enough support to get a new Broward Courthouse, which is nearing competition in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Her job as the commissioner for Northwest Broward County will almost certainly be won in the 2016 election by Parkland Mayor Michael Udine, who has expressed interest in running. “If she get the job, I’m in,” Udine told earlier this week.

Udine said he was filing for office Monday morning.  Noting he had lived in the district for his entire life, he has been mayor of Parkland since 2006.

Under Udine, the city has maintained one of the lowest tax rates in Broward while retaining its nationwide reputation as desirable place to live and raise a family.

“I intend to bring that kind of passion to the county commission,” he said.

Mayor Michael Udine_201309180829535075

Michael Udine


Gov. Rick Scott could make an interim appointment through the November election, but it was unlikely anyone could beat Udine, say political insiders. There is no realistic opposition at this time to Udine, who has been quietly rounding up support for his campaign.

Ritter won the job over a slew of government and tourism applicants chosen by a head hunting firm to replace longtime Director Nicki Grossman, also a former county commissioner. Grossman has promised to work with her during the transition, Ritter said.

The final decision on hiring Ritter was made by Henry, who wants to freshen the tourism promotion of Broward. Henry was not satisfied by the recent performance of the bureau and wanted new ideas from somebody from outside Broward’s tourism industry, according to several sources.

Ritter promised that her first job will be to hold meetings with the staff to discuss new ideas for promoting Broward amid very intense competition for tourism dollars worldwide.

The choice of Ritter was controversial, with the Sun-Sentinel and County Commissioner Lois Wexler opposing it because of her lack of tourism industry experience. In the end, Henry did what she thought was right for the county.

On Friday, Ritter assured the tourism industry that the bureau will retain its “staff of professionals” who are experienced in promoting their hotels and attractions.  She said she was “looking forward” to starting work promoting Broward and putting her 20-year political career behind her.

Ritter, 55, has two adult children and lives in Parkland.  She is married to Russ Klenet, a veteran Tallahassee and Washington lobbyist and Democratic political strategist.

My earlier piece on this appointed is linked here. 


36 Responses to “Comm Stacy Ritter Gets Broward Tourism Job”

  1. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Miss Charlotte Greenbarg is right. Broward’s voters have installed a corrupt lying County Government. I thought from just one meeting Bertha Henry was a talentless hack over the Psnthers issue. This just proves it.

  2. Talks like a politician says:

    In the words of Gomer Pyle, Patron Saint of Broward County, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”.

  3. Old Timer says:

    Appointment goes against all professional recommendations. The good news is that she ‘only’ wants 5 years to build her state retirement. The taxpayers and hospitality industry lose again.

  4. County is a mess says:

    Perhaps it is time to get the legislature to put a measure on the ballot to sunset the CVB and put it under a confederation of cites and remove the corrupt county commission from the process. The board could consist of the top 4 cities in bed tax dollars and also allow one county Commisioner .
    It could be done by transferring debt (bonds) and convention center to the new government entity, like they did with the Port over the gold rings….

  5. Just Saying says:

    From the S-S quoting Bertha Henry
    “… A specialized background in marketing and tourism wasn’t crucial…..

    She said she thought Ritter would be a supportive boss creating a “safe haven” for employees to do their jobs.
    Ritter got the job so all the existing employees with time in for pensions would get to keep them. Anyone else would have rocked the boat, fired deadbeats and brought in new talent.

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Ritter’s lobbyist husband has been (& probably still is) representing the Florida Panthers, which have been steadily vacuuming massive amounts of corporate welfare out of all of our pockets for literally decades now. Ritter will probably still advocate throwing yet more of our hard-earned money down that filthy toilet, but at least she won’t get to actually VOTE for it any more!

    Let’s hope the Ritter-free Commission finds a good way to strangle the flow of $$$ to this greedy Panthers team ASAP!! Make them pay their own way or LEAVE!! If they leave, then drop the rental rates on the facility until some real customers show up, or if that’s not economical, then just raze the BB&T Center and sell that very valuable land to the highest bidder. Stop the bleeding NOW!!!

    Fool us once, shame on you…
    Fool us twice, shame on us…
    Shame on the County Commission!!!

  7. Udine more of the same says:

    Udine and Ritter are Parkland neighbors, friends and political cohorts in every sense of the word. Cronyism is alive and well and getting rich(er) in Parkland. He will be more of the same. Seating him in her seat keeps the dishonesty train rolling. He doesn’t know the phrase “conflict of interest.”

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think Ha ha ha forgets just how well the Panthers did this year, knowing they have a permanent home. Duh.

  9. PBR says:

    How about a photo of her from this century?

  10. I apologize says:

    Bertha Henry has the integrity of a Crack Whore…..wait, I apologize and did not mean to offend the Crack Whore.

  11. HillaryIn2016And2020 says:

    Just proves that qualifications do not count.

    Just marrying the right spouse with the right connections and MONEY TALKS!!!!

  12. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I am ceasing any further investments in Broward County as I cannot see any good coming from no talent hacks like Bertha Henry n Stacy Ritter. NO WHERE from San Diego to Wellington NZ from Montreal to Sidney and all spots ib between are there such ROTTEN DECISIONS as appointing Stacy Ritter to the tourist post. Bertha Henry has TOTALLY DISGRACED HERSELF beyond redemption.

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @8 – Since the Panthers are allegedly doing “well”, on what date will they start repaying all the loot they took from the Broward County Commission over the past several decades?

    And of course they will accept NO further corporate welfare payments from Broward County, correct?!?

  14. bertha henry rules 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.? so henry gives her the job. henry doesn’t care. henry is probably planning her retirement from the county with the full pension any day now.
    ritter will never last as long in the job as Nikki Grossman.


    The Commission job may be cushy, however remember she is elected. If her district didn’t like her, they would vote against her. She has won in that district in four House and two Commission elections.

  15. Jeez please says:

    Jeez people. Give her a damn chance. Dispute what you say, she was a good Commissioner, got good things passed for Broward, was voted in overwhelmingly by her constituents and was cleared of all “accused” wrongdoing. If she flops on her face at the job, rip into her, but see what happens. Personally, I don’t think Grossman was the goddess everyone thought she was.

  16. A reader says:

    Bertha Henry chose the airport director. Bertha Henry chose the tourism director. How in he double hockey sticks does Bertha Henry have this much control over spending taxpayers’ dollars on Broward County employees? This system reeks of Third World corruption. Broward County hiring should be done professionally, not by one employee.


    Bertha Henry’s power to control the appointment of the aviation and tourism director is in the Broward County Charter, which was approved by Broward voters.

  17. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Congratulations Stacy.

    Don’t let these ankle biting bottom feeders bother you one bit.

  18. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    All bets where are Bertha Henry was going to pick Comm>Ritter. When I saw that Mayor Kiar was rooting for Ritter I knew that she was a shoe in. Think the magic number is five to get anything done. Although the Comm. had no authority here and it was solely Ms.Henry choice , I knew when Ritter had Kiar, and a few others I knew than, she got it. I disagree w/ some of the comments. Stacey Ritter knows how the whole process works and how the whole operation works. If Henry had picked say an outsider which is what some of you wanted it would have made her day to day operations a complete head-ache. On a managerial aspect Bertha did the right thing, less head-aches for her. As far as Henry getting heart burn she must have known that the devil you do know is better than the devil you don’t know. This office has a thirty mill/a yr. budget so I don’t think Ms.Henry wanted to rock th e boat.. As far as other comm. giving her heart burn, oh she took it under consideration but w/ five supporters, well you can do th e math. This notion that on any given Tuesday Ms.Henry could be shown th e door, again you need five. Henry can do the math. Sign her (Ritter) up she must have thought. Although Comm.wexler holds a lot in the vault, she has to give up the safe combination codes in November. Had this not been an issue I don’t think Comm.ritter would have had it so quickly. Henry thought Wexler leaves in nov. if I don’t give it to Ritter, pay back is a bitch. Hence you would have had Ritter then being after Nov. the senior comm. w/ th e must senority, met headaches for Bertha. So in th e end Bertha gave in, gave it to Ritter and holds her breath until Wexler ,term expires in Nov. Congrats to Stacey Ritter, good luck, and put those heads in beds for almost 200g a year. Impressive…..

  19. Matt says:

    I can’t stand all these haters.. Stacy will be fantastic and there is nobody better than Bertha

  20. Jim says:

    With all due respect, you must be

    out of your mind on this appointment

    Ms. Henry.

    With that being said, I don’t expect any

    feedback or response from you, your

    office or your underlings. You and your

    office are to feeble for that not to

    mention you probably won’t even see

    this email voicing my opinion.

    LIVES” lives still in the county. What a disgrace.

    Best regards and keep the mule


  21. Anonymous says:

    There are times where I wish we were all required to use our real names on blog posts. “I apologize” calls Bertha Henry a “crack whore.” Have you ever met the woman? What has she done to you that was so offensive? She’s a very smart, very capable woman who runs a 4 BILLION dollar operation for about $300k. Find me a CEO of a bank or other Wall Street company that would do that job for that kind of money. She could very easily have left and gotten a corporate job.

    And, if anyone really thinks Broward is THATY bad, move. Dade or Palm Beach would love to have you.

  22. Sam The Sham says:

    You guys are just figuring out that this place is corrupt? Where have you been?

  23. You're right, Chaz says:

    That Chazzy sure knows who best to endorse! Why, I can remember when he was raising the flag for Abby Freedman.

  24. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    As someone who dealt with n still does billionaire owners of businesses n their staffs I know Mrs Bertha Henry is a RESPECTABLE PRIVATE PERSON but a hopeless civil servant on the Panthers Tourist head appointment issues n cant be compared to say Merritt Stierheim or others in similiar positions.
    The idea that Bertha Henry could get a job in a county without a large Black population is laughable.

  25. John kelley says:

    This disgraceful decision,underscores the rampant political cronyism in all of our Count entities. The result of this is ongoing corruption, ineptness and wasted tax dollars.
    Which County entity will be outed for the results of this Browardgate in the coming weeks? BCSB? North Broward Hospital District, BSO or the Broward Commission?
    Have I missed any? Scribe

  26. I apologize says:

    @21 Go back and read my post, I never called Bertha Henry a crack whore. I compared her integrity , after appointing an unqualified political hack to a $200k job with benefits, to that of a crack whore. And then I realized the crack whore, suffering from addiction does not understand what she is doing, unlike Miss Bertha, who knows full well that she is a willing participant in the corruption that infests our county government. I noted that you did not use your name. Are you one that lines up at the government trough? Thought so….

  27. Come On says:

    @I Apologize .. Stacy Ritter has lived in Broward County for 40+ years, has represented Broward County at the State level for 10 years and the County level for 10 years.. The only other “qualified candidate” was a guy from San Fran – so a person who has lived here for 4 decades and knows the County inside and out or some “industry hack” who knows nothing about Broward County.. And when it comes to Bertha Henry, the woman has her finger on the pulse of this County better than anyone can ask for.. There isn’t anything going on that she doesn’t know 100% about.. You should really learn your facts before opening your ignorant mouth..

  28. Logic says:

    What’s in it for Stacy Ritter?
    1) a cushy $180,000/year job, nearly doubling her current taxpayer funded salary.
    2) worldwide first class travel at the taxpayers expense–free to her.
    3) won’t have to campaign for office again.
    4) no accountability or public benchmarks for here GFLCVB tasks.
    5) she no administrative skills–since the job didn’t require “marketing” skills–it should require little work.

    What’s in it for Bertha Henry:
    1) job security-she won’t have the threat of Stacy Ritter as a furious Commissioner with a grudge.
    2) she pleases all but one of the Commissioners–easy choice.
    3) She now has Stacy under control–as opposed to the other way around

    What’s in it for the people of Broward County?
    Higher property taxes and a possible increase on sales tax.


    Tourist development is paid through a tax on hotel guests, the so-called “bed tax,” and not property taxes.

    Every special interest including (1) the transportation folks, (2) the public schools and (3) the cities want an increase in the sales tax for their own projects. Tourism would have to get in line.

  29. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    @28 Tim Ryan told me to my face at the Emerald Society St Pats Breakfast Bertha Henry promised their was to be a decision based on qualifications AND THERE WAS NO PREFERENCE OR DEAL TO GIVE THIS JOB TO RITTER.

  30. sohara says:

    Didn’t Stacy Ritter propose a 1-cent hike in tourist development taxes? Doesn’t the County Commission set tourist development taxes.


    She suggested increasing the tax by 1 percent, but it is not a general sales tax. It is a tax on hotel visitors and guests in short term rentals only.

  31. Buddy says:


    Mayor Michael Udine filed for office Monday as he promised in the above post. See the story in linked here.

  32. Cap says:

    Interesting. Her husband represents the panthers. The “bed tax” is supposed to go back into the very industry it taxes (hotels!tourism!) to help keep that industry successful. Instead, the majority of the bed tax money is being spent on the arena where the panthers play. That right there – seems like an enormous conflict. How does she plan on advocating for all the small businesses that could really use the help from the CVB and the bed taxes to enhance, advertise and otherwise better our vital tourism industry when most of that money goes to a client of her husband’s? Generally, I like to give people a shot at something first before I condemn them in my mind, but I am just picturing that husband & wife team cackling and rubbing their hands together. I hope, for the sake of so many small businesses that need the CVB’s help to survive, she proves me wrong.

  33. The Count was Lied to? says:

    Dearest Count LF Chodkiewicz,
    Tim Ryan lied to you (like he lies to most people). Funny that his biggest issue, the transportation surtax just went up in flames and…(he) still doesn’t have an opponent. Someone from Lauderdale needs to end this agony and take this fool out.

  34. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @32 – Your picture – “husband & wife team cackling and rubbing their hands together” – is completely accurate and well written.

    Stacy Ritter will do her very best to provide lip service for the small businesses & cold hard cash for the pathetic Panthers.

    The only remaining question is whether the County Commission (and/or Bertha Henry) will stop those Panther payments and then insist on getting higher quality work from Stacy Ritter.

  35. What if she sucks? says:

    So what happens if she is terrible at the job? She just gets to be terrible and still keep it? This is BS. How is her capability going to be measured and what happens if she doesn’t meet expectations? I’m sorry. This is absolutely ridiculous. Tourism is too important to this county to place someone there who has zero experience in that field. STACY WE ARE WATCHING YOU. You’d BETTER have your $h*t together or you’re going to be publicly humiliated.

  36. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    @33 I have privately asked elected Public Officials in Fort Lauderdale why no one plans to run against Dania Beach resident Broward County Commissioner Tim Ryan and was told all the potential candidates are too involved or busy with productive professional n business careers. I meet intelligent young businessmen all the time and THEY HAVE NO INTEREST IN POLITICS or municipal county or state politics EXCEPT TRAFFIC PROBLEMS or NOISE VIOLATIONS in their local neighborhood.