Marion County Tourism Development Committee- TDC Marion

Book Next Year 

Come back during the year.

Visit the Nest on Lake Weir

and Gator Joe's

Watch for Eatons Beach to continue to grow.

A Discover Marion County Production 

Lake Weir Yacht Club

        Best Seasonal Video Awarded to Tourism Development Committee

TDC Committee Report Card of Ocala Visitor and Convention Bureau  (OVCB)

 The Tourist Development Committee is the private Video and Image program, where you can find out what is really happening in Marion County Tourism Circles.  


While Private Programs continue to lead in Video and Art promotional programs and innovative solutions, the Government Effort is now definitely on the right track.  Tourist deserve to know the Florida Best Visit Solutions and TDC Ocala Visitor and Convention Bureau is now helping to get the word out.  The Ocala TDC Directors are now showing an interest in the Video and 2-D Image promotional efforts long held as responsible for a substantial portion of tourism in Marion County.  Discover Marion County. com and Ocala Best along with Marion County CC. Com lead the polling again for 2014.

We believe that the Ocala Visitors and Convention Bureau would have recieved an "A" if it were not for the emergence of the new Partnership of the Ocala Chamber, Ocala City and Marion County.  The state development authorities are showing signs of withdrawling support of single company selections.  The Ocala Chamber Partnership with Marion County may lose taxpayer funding in the future.  

  The effort was developed many years ago to prompt the well intented state economic development program to help firm from outside Florida find answers in their search to relocate.

Once there were many Chambers in Mario County, Now there is only one official Chamber and they are a partner with Government.  Now The Ocala Chamber of Commerce has Partnered with Marion County Government and become the official Agency of Marion County.  This County welfare funding of a private firm has place an unfair burden on all the private and public businesses in Marion County who must try to compete on an unfair playing field.

Even the OVCB has seen their venue reduced.  Once a central part of promoting Tourism to Businesses of Marion County, today the Chamber is the actual official Partner of Marion County Government.  This years Marion County Day was dominated by The Chamber Partnership.  Citizens received almost no support promoting Marion County.  While we received no support and asked for none, we were by far the most effective organization in Marion County surpassed perhaps by the Ocala Visitors and Convention Bureau new more effective promotional programs. 


Ocala TDC the Marion County Department in charge of directing the voter approved tourism tax has made giant strides in addressing best management practices.

Recent accomplishments include:

1. A professional bid process to hire the Marion County Tourism advertising firm year to year.  Congratulations.


2. Aggressive auditing and attention to professional conflict of interest issues.  While it is difficult to achieve perfection, real thoughtful efforts have been made to have all business by officials be clear of conflict of interest and also avoid the appearance of conflict.  When conflict appeared to be at issue, an professional approach to vet each specific issue has helped build credibility for the Ocala Tourism and Visitors Bureau. 


3. Past official business situations that appeared to lead to a residual benefit enuring to TDC Ocala Director Employers continue to be addressed.


Marion County Singer and Movie Star, Kaye Stevens promotes our great community to the end, especially representing and remembering our veterans.
Over the past decade many great retirees have made Marion County their home and a better place.  In 2014 Marion County's portion of The Villages has again been the source of Tourism in from Lake and Sumter counties and unbelievable growth in business in the area.

Visit Belleview Florida voted Best Florida Visit Destination Springs District                               Marion Sun Times: 111512 Mimi Lash 

Mayor Christine Dobkowski continues inovation and improvements from her office.  Family and friends watched as Mayor Dobkowski and the city council got down to work over the years of the first term in office.  Now we are ready for the second term of solutions.

Sub-plot: Mayor Dobkowski welcomes the new buyer to town and is helping to bring back the Central Florida State Bank to its former glory.  She has been instrumental in bringing to Belleview the Marion County Utilities Service Center to the middle of their market.  Moving from Ocala where they had no customers, Marion County Utilities is another indication of Officials helping to bring efficiency to Government Operations.

 Ocala Best effort recognition for clean campaigning in the Marion County recent races.  All of the Candidates did a great job.

Congratulations for a successful reign for Mayor Kent Guinn.

Mayor Christine Dobkowski welcomed and congratulated by the community as she introduces her Second Term Economic Action Team program for Belleview. 

more Quotes

2014: Discover Marion County . Com wins Recognition Award for Best Tourism Web Video 5 years in a row.
Marion County hosts the Pumpkin Run, a Classic Auto Show, in Marion County Horse County. 

Jacqueline's Hair Salon Awarded Ocala Best.  Discover Marion County 

Marion County Tourism Promoters receive many positive accolades from tourist enjoying our home county treasures.

Buy Local has no meaning in Marion County
Discover Marion County is Award Winning local program.


Marion County Commission  awards County Tourism Advertising contract after competitive competition.

Mimi Lash  Marion Sun Times

Mid term elections are on our doorstep with the 2014 selections by voters.  It appears Marion County Commission leadership will continue strong into the next few years.  Interestingly, the Mario County School Board races have proved exciting with considerable changes expect in School Board policies in the near future.

New appointments are due at the Ocala Tourism and Visitors Bureau.  It appears that the effective reform of the past few years will continue.  All of Marion County will benefit from improved outcomes for Tourism in Marion County.


Gander Mountain's Terry Patterson Florida Archery Champion!

Can Economic Development help reduce the National Debt?   Yes, and Yes!  We can achieve Florida EDC growth and local EDC growth in Marion County.  It is the only way.
Stop Non Profits from grant writing.  This growing second level of Government is living off borrowed funds from foreign governments.  We have to borrow from the RED Chinese, all the funds that non profits live off.   Future budgets may exclued welfare to the Ocala Chamber Partnership with Marion County.  See budget discussions in 2014 for more heated debate on welfare to private companies like the CEP of Ocala.

The Gross National Debt

Always the promoter, Jimmy Leeward was an Economic Team Leader for Florida.  Thank you Jimmy!

Marion TDC Businessman of the Year- 2011.

Marion County's Newest Mayor Christine Dobkowski Sets EDC Program for Belleview Florida.

Marion Sun Times presents Selection 2014® Get informed, it is your opportunity to vote in the best.
Representative Charles E. Van Zant Reception.
State Representative Charles Van Zant 
Florida House of Representatives, District 21 Marion County
2012 campaign: At the Home of
Doctors Riadh & Manal Fakhoury  

All About Art of Belleview is the newest discovery of the tourist crowd flocking to Marion County.

Counted in the hundreds of thousands, The Villages launches interested knowledagble tourist on the shoppes of Marion County.

Browning's List selected All About Art as the 2011 Art Venue to Visit while in Marion County. 

Sit back and enjoy a small showing of art from All About Art of Belleview. 



The Marion County Commission is working in support of the needed Florida Economic Recovery.

EDC Marion County highlights the assets of Adventure and Fun in Marion County.

Sit back and enjoy a tour of Central Florida's Icons, past and present. 

Senator Alan Hays Presents Telescope!  Space Florida is your opportunity to get involved in Tomorrow.  Come on Down and Get Involved.

Visit Ocala County when you can.  We are ready to host you in an advernture of a lifetime.


Weirsdale Troop 113 Eagle Scout Celebration.

George Albright lll  kicks off the Inaugural Albright Charity Auto Show in Marion County.

Best Yellow Corvette Award goes to Don Browning for his amaizing Z06! 

Tourist travel from around the world to visit Kelly's Primary Oven in Ocala Florida.  Newly relocated, this is the resturante that keeps a following that keeps on following.

Just in: Marion County has new Marion County Visitor and Convention Bureau. Private Enterprise working to promote tourism in Marion County.

Ocala takes over Visitor and Convention Center.
Marion County VCB kidnapped by Ocala and ReNamed!

Ocala Visitor and Convention Bureau
Ocala invites The Villages to Town!

A message from Governor Rick Scott.

All of Marion County works to promote tourism.  Every 71 tourist creates a new job in Marion County. 

At 14% unemployment private TDC Marion takes control! Events are fine but waste tax dollars. 

Promoting Marion County creates jobs and elevates cities economies. Join the Economic Action Team

Marion County expands efforts to put out the welcome mat for tens of thousands of tourism in The Villages.  A great destination, The Villages draws visitors and many bounce deep into Marion County.

Economic Recovery begins in Central Florida Area.

Tourist begin to flock back to this exceptional venue. 

Visitors return to Marion County as Weirsdale's Eatons Beach restaurant on beautiful Lake Weir continues to create excitement.

Commissioners work to promote developing venues across Marion County.

Citizens ask the following to apply to Ocala for funding through an Ocala Sub District in Marion County allowed  under FS 125.0104

My Ocala Vacation

Ocala Sports Events

Ocala Golf Vacations

Ocala Sports Commission

Ocala Visitors & Convention Bureau 


All of Central Florida looks to The Villages to help lead the way to Economic Recovery 
Yvette Gibbs- Mitchel promotes anti-bullying campaign to help Marion County youth learn healthy relationship lessons as anti-bullying program grows with success. 
Marion County jumps to the Economic Forefront with The Villages Success.
Governor Rick Scott selects Marion County's own Tri-County Partners to sign Jobs Budget.  
TDC Marion and EDC Marion Director is on hand for historic event.
Marion County is in the lead as an important part of Central Florida Villages success.
Senator Alan Hays, and Representatives Dennis Baxley and Marlene O'Toole invite Governor Scott to the Villages.

Ocala Visitors Bureau and the rest of Marion County compete for Tourist from across the world.   

TDC of Marion County 

 World rescue effort in Tuscaloosa Alabama recognizes Marion County Florida's efforts to reach out to help Florida's neighbors in need.

TDC Marion steps up to help as board member Don Browning helps link the Marion County Sheriff's Office and Lake Weir Kiwanis Club.

Having gained experience with the award winning Katrina Hurricane relief effort the Teddy Bear Express Team came through again.  

Marion County Kiwanis in Weirsdale reaches out to Tornado Victims in Tuscaloosa Alabama.

Donors from all across Marion County come together. 

Marion County Sheriff creates connection in Alabama.  Marion County Visitors get paid back. 

Marion County Tourism Council Sponsors include:

Marion County surges ahead in the fight for Tourism Dollars to promote Marion County.  Currently Ocala has all the funding meant for Marion County but the tide is turning if favor of Marion County.

Pro Bono Marketing by Marion County TDC and EDC has created new hope for Marion County Economic Recovery.

Expert Marketing interest are taking back control of Marion County from Ocala interest.  Everywhere you look is an Ocala interest taking a portion of Marion County funds.   Ocala/Marion County is now the best once proud residents of Marion County can expect.  We can't find Marion County on a map so we use Ocala to represent our area declared board members at the Ocala Visitor & Convention board meeting recently.  Just because we say Ocala, doesn't mean we are not giving Marion County equal promotion declared a consensus of the board members present.   Controlling Tourist Development Tax funds to support groups with the Ocala Logo has become a trend in recent years.  Ocala the Ocala Chamber website is now challenged by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce and the Ocala EDC is now being overtaken by The EDC Marion County.  

Marion County Residents are successfully fighting back with Marion County branding via a host of powerful Pro Bono Tourist Promotional efforts.  Commissioners and Marion County Administration officials are moving to take control of the Ocala Tourism board.  "Years of no oversight has created a monster double system", declared Marion Visitors and Convention board member Steve Hunter.  Equal but separate is proven to be unfair to the majority of Marion County Residents.  The Ocala interest uses Marion as a location as in the Ocala Logo that shows that Ocala is in Marion County.  For every 10,000 persons in Ocala, there are 50,000 persons in Marion County that will now be represented.  


Lack of oversight by the Ocala Tourism board has resulted in a fast track promotion effort by the Ocala Tourism Board recently, of sports employee Matt Dunn as shown in the Marion County $80,000 application for the soon to be vacated Executive Director position of Ocala Visitor Bureau.  Invoking a little known Article 7 Insider exemption of hiring exemption for a current employee, the Ocala Tourism Board waved requirements to be open to all Marion County qualified applicants, under hiring policy 1-6 in County Policy 14.01.  Pro Bono HR experts have asked County Administrator Lee Niblock and Marion County Commission Chairman Stan McClain to follow Florida Statute 125.0104 along with County Policy 12.01 and .02 in hiring and oversight of the Ocala Tourist Board.  County Clerk David Ellspermann recently declared that there were no weaknesses in the oversight of the Ocala Tourism Board has been brought into question by policy statements that declare Marion County Administration has no oversight authority over the Ocala Board.  

Viva La Florida recently recognized Marion County as the geographical area that also includes Ocala.  This was an important recognition breaking the trend for Ocala based organizations to represent our Marion County Board of County Commissioners.  Marion County Chamber of Commerce, EDC Marion County, TDC Marion County and VTC Marion County all have asked for recognition and support in promotion of Marion County Tourism Development.  


Florida Statute 125 experts declare Ocala Tourism a Sub District that must be authorized by the Marion County Voters.

Ocala interest promise that the current Logo is as much recognition as Marion County deserves because Ocala is Marion County on most maps.

"Trust Us" the Ocala Tourist Bureau Board to know what is best for those who don't live in Ocala.  Once 60% of Marion County population, now Ocala is about 18% and falling.

Pro Bono Tourism Development Committee Experts point out that the Ocala/Marion Board of County Commissioners Visitor & Convention Bureau must look to Ocala Elected Officials for funding

if they want to continue to represent Ocala.


FS 125.0104 requires Ocala to have Sub District .
Marion County TDC is raising concerns about branding Marion County Florida.

A report by the TDC Marion County Florida:
We have uncovered have potential problems that could have grave consequences for the Marion County Commission, County Clerk, and the Marion County Administration.   County officials we speak with are under the impression that the MCTB does not operate under the oversight of the Marion County Administrator, yet Mr. Ellspermann the MC Clerk of the Court,  clearly found that the County Administrator had full oversight as indicated by his Report Conclusion: "VCB was organized and accounted as a County department that was under the oversight of the County Administrator and was subject to the same internal operational, financial, purchasing and budgetary controls of any other department."  Clearly there is a fundamental gap a mile wide between actual oversight responsibility by the County Administrator and the findings of Mr Ellspermann.  
There appears to be no connection between oversight reality and the Clerk's report findings. 

We feel that there is a need for a community discussion per FS 125.0104, and the Sub District Ocala that currently has control of Marion County Tourist Development tax dollars.  We feel that arguments for the Marion County interest must be heard in additon to the Ocala interest.   The Florida Statute requires a separate district ordinance for a sub district.  

While Florida Statutes requires a single board member to be from the the county's largest city, we feel it is time to have a community discussion of the name of the Marion County Tourism Development Council and the current appearance presented that Marion County can be represented as Ocala.  The Ocala interest feel strongly that Marion County must do business as Ocala however we feel just as strongly that Marion County is a Vital Destination and can stand as it is named in the ordinance as the Marion County  Tourist Development 

Pleased be advised that It is our belief that both Marion County Administrator Dr. Niblock, and David Elispermann are at extreme professional risk because of irregularities uncovered recently in the Clerks report in another TDC experiencing problems, and the assurance that the Marion County Administrator had full departmental control over the Marion Tourist Development Council.  (See Link)  
Additionally, commissioner Stone has been under the impression that he is a liaison to the board, when in fact he is by ordinance a required full board member with fiduciary responsibility.  Commissioner Stone has been filling a role of observer without over sight responsibility.  You Lee have been under the impression that you are excluded from oversight by FS 125.0104 and the Marion County Ordinance marion county florida (Ord. No. 04-17, § 3, 7-6-2004)

The TDC of Marion County has uncovered several serious irregularities that cause grave concern, we need an open forum to express the concerns that must be addressed.  We feel that a quick wording change by the BCC would appear as a cover-up of years of not oversight by the Administration because they didn't know they had oversight.  Please take these comments as constructive and not as criticism.  We all know that if you knew you had oversight of this county department you would address those duties with the same dignity, integrity and professionalism that you handle your other Marion County Departments.

  According to the report by Mr Ellspermann, the Clerk of the Court was aware of irregularities so serious, from another county that a study was undertaken to insure that The Marion County Tourist Development Council was treated as a normal county department under the full control of The County Administrator.
Taken from David Ellspermann's Report on the need for total Marion County Oversight with no weaknesses. 
(Our previous reviews were generally limited to a testing of expenditures and discussions with County management and staff concerning effectiveness of internal controls to ensure effective management oversight. We concluded at that time the VCB was organized and accounted as a County department that was under the oversight of the County Administrator and was subject to the same internal operational, financial, purchasing and budgetary controls of any other department. BCC approval was required for large contracts and individual grants.
For this current review, we expanded our activities to include discussions with VCB personnel and an on-site examination of pertinent documents.
We have concluded that TDT funds are used in accordance with County Code and that there are no material internal control issues or weaknesses. We also determined that VCB and County personnel are in compliance with relevant County policies and procedures. We did identify the following findings and recommendations in the following pages that are submitted for management’s consideration.

 It appears that the Applicant and his boss the current Ex. Director of the Ocala Tourism Bureau are attempting to have this promotion declared "appropriate to wave Section 14.01" Items 1 through 6 that guarantee a fair open evaluation of qualified applicants from Marion County.   There are no previsions in FS 125.0104 that allow the Ocala Tourism Agency Board to authority to wave guarantees afforded other qualified candidates for director of the Marion County Tourism Executive Director.  On the contrary, FS 125 requires that sub section 125.0104 authorized persons act according to the Florida Statutes and Marion County 14.01 and 14.02.

Our concern is that Federal Title VII and Marion County policy are being violated.   By written policy 14.01 and 14.02 an in house waver requires first a vacancy and only then the judgement of a waver of 14.01 items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, in order to evoke item 7.   A false "fast track" need undetermined by the County Administrator was used to discriminate against all Marion County qualified persons protected under MC policy and Title VII.  Two persons, both with a conflict of interest,  currently in the job of Ex, Director position, and her assistant who would financially benefit from the determination of other qualified applicants.  We have a great story to tell and only want a chance to present our Marion County Tourism program to the Marion County Tourism Board, and the Marion County Board of County Commissioners.  There is a real concern that current Marion County Ordinance authorized taxes are being used for the Sub District "Ocala", not approved by the voters of Marion County.)

The Marion County Administrator has never declared the vacancy "Vacant" because the position is not yet vacant, and The Marion County Administrator has never deemed the special cercumstances exist that would block other Qualified Marion County Residents from applying.

The fact that you are too busy to even bring up this issue at this time proves our point that unnamed persons are attempting to fill this position with a single candidate in violation of County Recruitment and Selection written policy.

 Special interest who want the 2 year sports employee on an inside track are trying to rush this promotion through.  This is an important policy position and it must wait per MC  14.02 procedures for your judgement to fill,  retain, or hold vacant.   The Ocala Tourist Bureau has taken an insider information approach that I believe did not comply with our 14.02.   

The current Executive Director has only anounced an interntion to retire, she is still in office and there is no vacancy at this time.  There is no vacancy yet as required in 14.01 and 14.02.

There are two camps in the promotion of Marion County.

Camp A:  Ocala Visitor & Convention Bureau
Applicant Matt Dunn.  Received a "no compete" insider track to his requested $80,000 application.  Other applications were blocked even though in-house advertising status was never deemed appropriate by the Marion County Administrator as required in County Law. (14.01 and 02.    Candidate has 2 years and a few months on the job.   Mr Dunn's Strengths, experience and education are considerable in sports promotion.  A senior Human Services official commented that an important post such as the Executive Director of Marion County Tourism should be open more than one applicant.
Ocala is a sub district and not considered a sports town by TDCMarion.  Marion County is not considered a sports venue having many other wonder treasures that could attract tourist.  Promotion centers around promoting outside golf events mainly that are bid on and promoted with the Marion County Visitor taxes.    Cost to tax payers is approx. $1,000,000 per year for the past 4 years.  This camp refuses to even contact local promotional interest that have world class promotional success on Internet visitor, tourism page one search engine results.  Camp A is a sub district based on the claim that Ocala is the county seat and deserves 90% of the promotion approved by voters for Marion County tourism.  

Camp B:  Marion County Tourism Bureau.  Director Don Browning 

 It feels like we are getting the run around by this 2 year employee and those close around him in the Ocala Camp.
The Marion County Visitor's Bureau has been taken over by a sub district of Ocala.  A branding of Marion County is considered worth fighting for by the board of the TDC Marion.

Drew Adams has been helpful in sending necessary information on this mater.

It appears that on April 11 there was an announcement by the single applicant's boss Ann Sternal that was not known or broadcast to the public.  On the 13th of April there was an in-house advertising of the up coming potential opening and Matt Dunn then had an exclusive opportunity at the $77,000 job.  The decision to advertise internally automatically discriminated against the many qualified candidates because there is an informal agreement in the county that no applications can be taken if the "magic Internal advertisement" is issued yet under Marion County Policy 14.01 it takes a vacancy and special intervention of the Marion County Administrator to by pass the safeguards against possible discrimination in items 1-6 of Policy 14.01.

Recruitment Policy 14.01 guarantees fair public announcements of job postings in (1.) and in (3.) there is a clear guarantee of fair and open advertising  and recruiting practices.
 conducted solely on the basis of knowledge, skills, ability, education and experience without regard to any individual's sex, race, color, religion national origin, age, marital, status or disability.   

It seems that all these guarantees were crushed by a general statement that current Marion County recognizes advantages of promoting from within.
It seems that the term "When Appropriate" allows unnamed persons to automatically give a policy making director post to a 2 year employee discriminating against all the interest of Marion County citizens.  

Note:  14.02 Procedures for filling vacancies require you as county administrator to make the determination on filling the not yet vacant position of Executive Director.

Discover Marion County's Board would not have noticed these problems if we had not spent the last 4 years developing a Marion County Promotional Program receiving zero support from Ann Sternal or Matt Dunn.  Both Ms Sternal and Mr. Dunn are qualified persons and we respect their professionalism in serving the citizens of Marion County.  We also feel that the process must be lawful and oversight must be appropriate for the Millions of Tax Dollars involved.

If we are to encourage Marion County Citizens  help our community prosper we must afford the same encouragement to all active participants.

Note the has developed Economic Development Council,  and MarionEDC.Com, Marion Tourism Council, Marion Tourism Bureau all have been working to give All of Marion County promotion in the race to develop a prosperous community.

We at least must be considered in the manditory evaluation by the county administrator as stated in MC 14.02 Procedures for filling vacancies.

Marion County Citizens Group has been encouraged by the Improved Branding to promote and brand the Magnificent Venue known as Marion County.
They point out that Marion County has Silver and Rainbow Springs, hundreds of Horse Farms, Major Lakes, Rivers, and the Cross Florida Trail System have improved as tourism venues.
Spokesman Walter Pine points out that our Treasured Marion County has Golf Courses, Sports Venues, and more plus the finest hotels both large and small.  Marion County's Bed and Breakfast lodging is world class. 

 Links presented by EDC Marion County.

Central Florida Nature photography is spread out under the heavens accessable from Nearby Space Florida and NASA.

See NASA images through linked Space Telescopes now combining to present an even more exciting look at the heavens.  See the 

Universe from


Central Florida's NASA

 and Space Florida


Space Florida is a window into the future.
NASA and Space Florida link the Viva Florida Celebration from Central Florida.

Juliette Falls is the Premier Visitor's Treasure Award® Winner 2011.  TDC Marion

Hole 1 Juliette Falls Dunnelion Florida
Call for Golf Specials like Free Burger & Draft Beer in Groups of 16.

Marion County Citizens ask for the primary share of the Marion County Tax Funding currently going to the Ocala Visitor Center Sub-District.
Interest is building for a Recall Petition  by 15% of the voters required by FS.  A small Sub-District has developed around Ocala.  An interest in attracting special events rather than promoting tourism for our unique treasures is causing concern.  Currently Ocala Visitors Bureau receives 100% of Marion County tax funding.  Marion County residents receive 0%.  Yes, ZERO is spent branding Marion County Tourism Brand.
Citizens ask for 25 % of Marion County tax dollars to go to Ocala, or the establishment of an authorized Sub-District. The remaining 75% of the Tourism Tax Base should reflect the promotion of Marion County citizens.
Director Stephen Hunter points out that Marion County Economic Development depends on a fair split of tax funding to promote all of Marion County.  Citing the Ordinance that authorized Marion County as the Tourist Development District.
Ocala has under 20% of the population so they should receive at least 25% of the Tax Payer promotional funding.  Citizens of Marion County pay tourist taxes when ever they travel and deserve a fair share of Marion County's tourism tax. 


Come Fly with me, to Adventure TDC Marion
Eco Art Capital of the WorldŽ, Marion Tourism Council.

Governor Rick Scott Welcomes Visitors!
Come experience Marion County Florida

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