THE EXECUTION OF ED SVITAK
The head figure leading Visit Lake Geneva is being replaced. Ed Svitak submitted his resignation at 12:43 am on Friday but was his resignation made voluntarily or was it at the request of the board of directors? This hugely creative and expressive man came to Lake Geneva two years ago to head up the Chamber of Commerce it had become under the man who had preceded him in that position. Ed was caught right in the middle of the mess that has been created by the name change of the chamber to ‘Visit Lake Geneva,’ and the Tourism Commission’s being slaved together with ‘Visit’ to be able to collect room taxes from the resorts while also collecting fees from small businesses in Lake Geneva to represent them, as well. Just the name change alone was an indication of where the attention and money of Visit/Tourism was going to go.
Visit Lake Geneva is all about visitors and tourists coming in. The name itself has little to do with the residents of Lake Geneva or the small businesses located in the town. It leans towards the direction of the big resorts like the Grand Geneva, Geneva National. The chairman of the board is the head guy at Town Bank. Not that the GSR can say those big resorts bank at that bank. Such financial information is called proprietary and therefore remains entirely secret. Do not think for one minute that any of the resorts bank at that bank. The GSR is terrific at keeping such secrets and it is going to keep them until hell freezes over…or the bank or the resorts do, whichever comes first.
Ed Svitak’s last day is January 3rd. The City of Lake Geneva is going to miss him, mostly because he was about the City of Lake Geneva. His perception was all about building the community to support the resorts and not the reverse. He had to attempt to deal with the fact that so many Lake Geneva businesses dropped out of the chamber (Visit) because they were seeing the resort writing on the wall, but that is not all. The eight communities that contribute to it, are affected by, and are part of the Visit Lake Geneva experience could not get along. They could not agree on almost anything, and that kind of openly divided and acrimonious combat finally reached a point where Ed Svitak couldn’t take it anymore. The resorts do have a vested interest in being separated from the small business-oriented communities involved. It’s called capitalism. Those resorts want people to come to Lake Geneva, get out to their resort, and then stay, eat, shop, swim, ski and stay there without ever coming into the City of Lake Geneva. They do not say that, however.
Ed Svitak has known that, and he was trying to deal with the difficult town-smothering situation, while at the same time getting those entities (not resorts) together to make coordinated and sensible decisions. Many of these resorts have taken Lake Geneva addresses when they are not located anywhere near Lake Geneva. Ed may not have been “executed” by the resort dominated board of Visit Lake Geneva, he may simply have done himself in at his own hand because he couldn’t take it anymore. Whatever the reason, he is going to be sorely missed by those of the public, local and visiting, who come to Lake Geneva because they love the community and the small town itself. Ed’s comment earlier on Monday night: “My line on why I have left is as follows—”Sometimes on paper, an opportunity looks perfect— but when you get into the reality of the situation at hand, that is not the case.” This was simply one of those scenarios. I am proud of what we accomplished overall and will always have a huge appreciation for the “Destination.” There has to be much more collaboration down the line or things will all splinter away. We don’t need 8 separate trenches to attack and defend (and create awareness)…we need one unified one.”
Editor’s note: Visit Lake Geneva’s second in command stated unequivocally that he would not be taking the job.