Sampey picked for joint spot at VCVB|[5/02/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2006

A monthlong vacancy on the Vicksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau was filled Monday, as county supervisors joined the City of Vicksburg in a vote for a 26-year bank executive to fill the unexpired term of the city-county appointee.

Nelda Sampey, 54, vice president of business banking development at AmSouth Bank, was unanimously approved by the Warren County Board of Supervisors during its regular meeting.

City officials voted for Sampey April 25, adding the issue to its agenda at the 11th hour.

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Calling it &#8220a delight” to be named to the seat, Sampey said she is looking forward to serving on the 11-member tourism board &#8220to help form a consensus.”

&#8220Tourism is one of our greatest resources here, and the job is to support and promote it,” Sampey said later.

Sampey also said she hopes to help improve communication among board members, who for nearly six months have been locked in discord over the decision to hire Compass Facility Management to assume much of the bureau’s management functions, including accounting and public relations.

The board’s last meeting lacked a quorum, as only six of the 11 members showed up. Another meeting is set for Friday, with issues originally up for discussion to be on the agenda.

Omar Nelson, one of five board members who voted against the Compass proposal in January, said Sampey’s appointment will be &#8220an asset” to the board.

&#8220She brings something to the board in that she has a stake in promoting tourism,” Nelson said.

Sampey has served as treasurer for Vicksburg Heritage Inc., in association with the Spring Pilgrimage Tours, an annual tour of historic homes and other sites downtown.

She fills the term of a seat left vacant by Jo Wilson, owner of Wilsonwood Lodge, who resigned March 22. Clara Ross Stamps, interim executive director during much of the debate, resigned March 28 after being passed over for a permanent title.

The VCVB was created by the Legislature as a freestanding agency in 1972 with its own funding via a 1 percent tourism tax. Past directors have been individuals, with an attorney general’s advisory opinion in January backing up that stipulation. Attorney general’s opinions, however, do not carry the force of law.