Judge-executive seeks answers from NCEDA on tourism director’s firing

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023 — The partner agencies of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency (NCEDA) board met Thursday morning. and Nelson County Judge-Executive Tim Hutchins had some pointed questions regarding the firing of Samantha Brady, the former executive director of the Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist Commission.


Hutchins noted that tourism in the county has been on an upward trajectory for three years now, and he questioned why the director — with a kind of record of success in tourism — was fired.

Huston told Hutchins that neither she nor the tourism board could comment on personnel matters, though she did refer to Brady’s termination letter, which explained there had been complaints about her leadership from both inside and outside of the tourism office.

Beyond what the letter said, Huston could offer nothing additional.

She did note that the board consulted with legal counsel to make certain the situation was handled legally. She added that when meeting with Brady, she was offered a chance to sign a resignation letter rather than face termination, but she refused.

Hutchins again questioned why the tourism board fired a director who was having success in building tourism in the city and county.

Huston said that the increase in tourism was due in no small part to the efforts of local distilleries, which have spent millions collectively to market and promote their respective stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Huston said she hired Brady for her first job with Bardstown Mainstreet in 2013, promoted her to lead the chamber of commerce in 2015, then promoted her again to lead tourism in 2020.

She told Hutchins that Brady was not a contracted employee, but she was an “at-will” employee, which means she could be fired at any time with or without cause.

“This wasn’t something we ever wanted to have to do,” she told Hutchins. “We wouldn’t have done it unless there was evidence to support us doing it.”

BARDSTOWN LICENSE PLATE. Huston told the NCEDA board that the long-awaited Bardstown – Bourbon Capital of the World license state license plate had been finally approved for production, which is expected to begin in late January 2024.

The plate’s background resembles a barrel, with ‘Kentucky” in the middle of the top of the plate, and “Bardstown – Bourbon Capitol of the World” at the bottom

The license plate has been in the works for approximately three years.

NEXT UP. The next NCEDA board meeting is 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.


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