• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Emily Downey nominated for top Tourism Commission slot

The Woodford County Tourism Commission is expected to name Emily Downey, a longtime Alltech veteran, as its first executive director at its monthly meeting Friday. A news release from commission Chair Maria Bohanan said Downey was the unanimous recommendation of the group’s interview panel. Downey’s start date, if her selection is confirmed by the commission, will be Nov. 1. “With over 13 years of marketing and management experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge to the position. As Alltech’s North American Marketing Manager, she has extensive experience with the World Equestrian Games, both in 2010 (Ky.) and in 2014 (Normandy, France). She holds an Executive MBA from UK/UL and completed Alltech’s mini-MBA (University of Dublin) earlier this year,” Bohanan said in the release. Downey is the wife of Magistrate William Downey (Dist. 5) and the sister of Judge-Executive James Kay, but Bohanan said family connections were not a factor in the selection. “The tourism commission board followed a meticulous process to individually score each interviewee. Emily Downey had the highest score of all. Her educational background and extensive international marketing experience with Alltech made her the best candidate for the job. Regardless of optics, it would be a disservice not only to the citizens of Woodford County, but to all the participants who applied, to not pick the best qualified person,” Bohanan said via email. Emily Downey told the Sun that she would continue to work for Alltech and had the company’s blessing to accept the Tourism Commission post, which is a part-time job. County Attorney Alan George said the Downeys contacted him to ensure Emily would not violate the county’s personnel policy by accepting the job. George said she wouldn’t, in part because the county does not presently fund the Tourism Commission (which receives the vast majority of its funding through occupancy taxes on hotels and bed and breakfasts) and because the commission is not under the auspices of Fiscal Court. George said he also told the Downeys that he didn’t see a conflict of interest for either of them. The Tourism Commission is composed of appointees by the two mayors and judge-executive. The initial news release included a joint statement from Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift and Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott: “Uniquely Woodford County, (Midway & Versailles), have become a place for people to not only visit, but a place they want to stay.” Kay was not mentioned in the release.

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