Though the City of Shawnee chose Spectra to be the new venue management provider for the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center as of Aug. 1, a full transition is still in the works — namely how the longtime expo Board of Trustees — along with its assets — figures into the new arrangement.

Though the City of Shawnee chose Spectra to be the new venue management provider for the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center as of Aug. 1, a full transition is still in the works — namely how the longtime expo Board of Trustees — along with its assets — figures into the new arrangement.

At a special meeting Tuesday, expo trustee board members, Spectra's new expo general manager and city leaders gathered to discuss how the three entities plan to jointly carve the expo's new path.

Early on expo board Chair Randy Gilbert expressed uncertainty as to whether the city planned on the continuation of his board.

“There's been no talk of closing down the Trustee Board by anybody,” Mike Clover, of Stuart and Clover, said. The law firm represents the City of Shawnee and its dealings.

City Manager Chance Allison agreed.

After that all three groups appeared eager to collaborate, but trustees are moving cautiously, hoping in a result that more resembles a braided rope, instead of a tangled mess.

As was the goal, much of the expo board's funds over the years have been used directly for facility maintenance or improvements, such as heat-and-air, lighting and flooring. Those assets obviously become part of the building and are managed with it — they are not at issue.

But some Trustee assets are highly portable equipment, from small objects like countless tables and chairs, to larger items like heavy-duty machinery, such as a skid-steer (Trustees are still making payments on), a barn sweeper and a Chevy Tahoe. How to move forward in relation to the board's assets is still unclear.

No one in the meeting disputed the Trustees' invaluable efforts in promoting and maintaining the expo to date, and many of its physical assets are, and likely will continue to be, relied on heavily to keep the facility running. The assets could be turned over to the city or the trustees could retain control.

Another hurdle is deciding how receiving funds and paying bills will be handled — whether the city and Spectra would operate all financial dealings in the future or if the Trustee board would keep a hand on some level of that control.

One thing the board does fully intend to keep a steady hand on is continued execution of the International Finals Youth Rodeo (IFYR) as in years past.

Again, how some of those moving parts will be achieved now needs to be negotiated.

Part of that situation is determining whether Spectra will be hired to seek sponsors for the IFYR or if the board will continue to take care of that itself.

Sponsorship of an event as big as the IFYR — especially on a national scale — should be attended to quickly, Spectra's newly appointed expo General Manager Erin Stevens said. August is pretty much over and October is the budget month for most, she added.

“We will only have two to three weeks before we need to really start working on sponsorship for next year,” she said.

Gilbert was concerned that existing contracts or agreements with the Trustees might be in jeopardy now that another entity has taken the helm.

He offered a hypothetical example to make his point.

“What if Avedis comes back in a year or two wanting their tables and chairs back because their contract was not being honored?”

Gilbert repeatedly shared with the group he desired a smooth transition and wanted to address any issues that might arise; he did not want any holes turning up later on.

According to the contract between the city and Spectra, Article 12, Section 12.1 reads, “The city shall provide to Manager (Spectra), on or before the Effective Date, copies of all Existing Contracts.”

The agreement continued on to say, “Manager (Spectra) shall administer and assure compliance with such existing contracts.”

Gilbert said he had not acquired or seen a copy of the Spectra/City contract until he was able to quickly leaf through Stevens' copy during the meeting.

With so many things still up in the air, the Trustee board, city leaders and Spectra were left with much to chew on besides lunch.

After the forum ended, only one thing was clear — ironing out all the duties, responsibilities and financial power among the trio is going to take some time to sort out.

Other than agreeing there was plenty left to do, there was little decided Tuesday.

Gilbert said first the board is going to have to know exactly what its assets are. Trustees could then more readily figure out if or to what degree they might choose to sell, lease or manage them.

Watch for updates.